Gators Face Rhode Island Before SEC Begins

The Gators will close down their out of conference schedule Monday night, but it won't come without a challenge. Rhode Island brings a top-40 RPI into Gainesville, and they have played a tough schedule this season that could help them with a potential upset of the Gators.

The Rams came close to a season defining upset in their first game of the season. They opened the season at then-ranked No. 4 Pittsburgh. Rhode Island trailed by only one point at half time and stayed close for most of the game. Pittsburgh eventually won 83-75, but the Rams proved that they could play anyone well.

And they have Florida's attention.

The other three losses for Rhode Island came against Illinois-Chicago, Providence and Quinnipiac. That list might make them sound like they should expect a double-digit beating Monday night. However, they have the players capable of pulling the upset at the O'Connell Center.

Senior forward Delroy james leads the Rams in points and rebounds, averaging 19.1 and 7.2 respectively. Forward Nikola Malesevic and guard Marquis Jones are both averaging 10.9 points per game. Sophomore guard Akeem Richmond is the fourth starter who averages double digits, giving them 10.6 points per game.

Senior center Will Martell is averaging 7.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He is a center who knows his role on defense and rebounding.

The toughest aspect that Rhode Island brings to the table is their three-point shooting. The Rams are shooting 38.2% for three this season, and the Gators will have to defend that to win this game.

Malesevic is shooting 58.1% (25-43) from behind the three-point line this season. They have four other shooters on the roster that shoot over 32% from behind the three-point line.

The Gators come into this game after breaking Xavier's 30-game home winning streak on Friday. The offense put up 71 points and showed signs of life that were needed. The Gators shot a season-high 46.2% (6-13) from behind the three-point line.

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