UF Looking For First Win at LSU Since 2003

Florida traveling to Baton Rouge to face LSU has always looked like a trap game. The team is coming off a week of rest with a tough end to conference play looming. However, Sunday's game looks like a blowout on paper. That's exactly what has Florida head coach Billy Donovan concerned, as the Gators hit the road to take on the Tigers Sunday at 1 p.m.

"I think a lot of times in a game like this people look at the record. I say the same thing I say about Auburn. I have great respect for (LSU coach) Trent (Johnson) because I see how a team competes. You see teams in other leagues with a bad record and you can see they've shut it down. I don't feel that way with LSU."

Playing in the Maravich Assembly Center has been tough for the Gators recently. They haven't won in Baton Rouge since 2003, but Florida did win last season's matchup at home over the Tigers, 72-58.

This could be the year that falls.

The Gators have played well on the road this season. Their last road win, last week at South Carolina, gave the team their sixth road win for the first time since the 2005-2006 season. The veteran players have gotten accustomed to playing on the road in recent seasons.

Another reason to believe that this is the year Florida gets breaks the streak at LSU is that they have spent the entire season breaking streaks.

The Gators won at Florida State for the first time since 2002, at Tennessee for the first time since 2005, at Georgia and South Carolina for the first time since 2008 and ended Xavier's 30-game home winning streak on New Year's Eve.

However, Donovan knows his team can't take the Tigers for granted.

"They have size and strength- they're a physical team," Donovan said. "They defend very well. When you have young guys in the backcourt as they do, sometimes the shooting percentage goes up and down."

The game is also made more difficult because Chandler Parsons will be held out with a deep thigh bruise. He suffered it against Tennessee last Saturday. The senior has recorded six double-doubles on the year and now has 13 for his career.

The Gators know they will have to do their best without him. Freshman small forward Casey Prather is expected to start in his place.

"(The game) is huge for us, especially with Chandler being hurt now," junior guard Erving Walker said. "It gives him some extra time for him to get healthy. We would love to him, but we're preparing without him."

The Tigers are led by their backcourt duo of freshmen guards. Andre Stringer averages 11.8 points and 2.9 assists per game, despite being only 5-9. Ralston Turner is the team's lead scorer with 12.4. The team is young and freshmen have been forced into roles earlier than expected because of some injuries.

"They started the league off 2-0 then got hit with a rash of injuries," Donovan said. "It's different guys out throughout the year, and it's a hard thing to overcome when you have injuries. They've played pretty well the last two games."

LSU played tough against Alabama on Thursday night, but the Crimson Tide were able to pull it out. Donovan hopes that game was enough to get his attention, because the Gators have lost to worse teams than the Tigers this season.

"I have the respect necessary going in there because- we lost to Mississippi State, and Mississippi State beat LSU by one," Donovan said. "I would say that we've lost to some teams that LSU is better than."


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