Gators Looking for Complete Offense

Shooting didn't look like a problem for the Gators on Saturday. Florida broke out of its shooting slump in a big way while putting up 98 points and hitting 13 threes. Florida head coach Billy Donovan's focus is now on making the team move past that game and understand they aren't going to shoot that well during every game. They can't ignore trying to score the ball in the paint against Auburn.

"There were times where a lot of our threes came when we controlled the ball on the way to the basket and made the extra pass," Donovan said. "I thought in the game against Arkansas we took what was available and what was open for us. It was a game where Patric (Young) tweaked his ankle a little bit and then picked up four fouls and there was really never any flow for him in the last 14 minutes of the game."

Erving Walker led the Gators with 31 points and hit five three-pointers while Erik Murphy and Kenny Boynton each hit three. Florida shot 13-23 (56.5%) from long distance after shooting up 37.9% in all of the last three games.

The Gators ended their shooting slump for one day. Donovan just hopes that now they don't begin to think they can ignore Patric Young and Murphy when they post up. Young has struggled in recent games, scoring double figures just twice in the last six.

Auburn's 14-12 record could have some Florida players overlooking this game, but they are fifth in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing just 64.2 points per game. Florida still leads the conference in scoring offense, averaging 78.9 points per game.

The Gators must try to get Young involved early in the game. Even if he doesn't enforce his will in the paint, he forces the defense to respect his touches.

"I thought he gave us a great lift because he was a presence at the basket to block some shots," Donovan said of Young's performance against Arkansas. "He had a big block play to begin the second half and then had a few offensive rebounds. As long as we play unselfishly and make good decisions and the right passes, I think the defense always dictates where the ball needs to go.

"I thought in the game against Arkansas we did a good job of that. How Auburn guards us, and the decisions we'll have to make in that game, presents its own challenge as itself."

INJURY UPDATE: Mike Rosario practiced on Friday before the Arkansas game but ‘pulled himself out.' Donovan said Rosario just couldn't finish practice because of the hip pointer that has given him trouble. It originally happened when he and Cody Larson collided in a practice shortly after the loss to Tennessee. Donovan was uncertain if it was a bone bruise but said there was "pretty significant swelling."

Rosario practiced fully on Sunday and Donovan expected him to do the same on Monday. If he made it through the practice, Donovan expected to have him available for Tuesday night.

"I think he's really favoring it to the point where he's very, very leery of cutting and moving in certain ways," Donovan said. "You can notice it on plays where he has to push off or change direction. When those guys get hurt like that, we try to at least push them to a point where we aren't putting them in harm's way, and I don't think he's going to put himself in a position where he's going to reinjure it or he's going to hurt it any more severely than it's already been hurt."

The difficulty for Rosario is that he isn't used to being injured.

"He's a guy who hasn't had a lot of injuries, so I would say that he can sometimes be a little overcautious whether it is his lower back dealing with the disk problem or a sprained ankle," Donovan said. "He gets worried a lot of times mentally that he's going to reinjure himself or hurt himself where he just doesn't feel right and it causes him to be very, very tentative and to almost shy away from doing certain things on the court because he doesn't feel comfortable."

LOOKING AT AUBURN: The Tigers come to Gainesville on Tuesday with a 1-10 record in games played away Auburn Arena. They are a physical team that will try to slow things down against the Gators. Auburn's offense comes into the game tenth in the conference in points per game at 63.6. The Tigers are ninth in field goal percentage (42.1%) and eleventh in free throw percentage (65.7%).

Junior guard Frankie Sullivan leads the way with 12.5 points per game while senior forward Kenny Gabriel is averaging 12.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

"They are a very, very physical team— a hard-nosed team that's very aggressive and plays hard," Donovan said. "I think if you go back and look at their statistics in the league, people look at their record maybe and draw opinions or conclusions about their team, but they went to Arkansas and lost by three, lost an overtime game against Ole Miss. On the road, they play very, very well; they haven't had a lot of large margins of defeat.

"Gabriel is a real matchup problem because they're playing him at the small forward spot and they'll slide him to the power forward spots. He's a very, very good player. Frankie Sullivan, who's a guy that a year ago was dealing with some knee injuries, he's coming into his own as a strong, physical guard. They're going to change up defenses. They'll do 2-2-1 press. They'll do 2-3 zone. They'll play man-to-man. They'll do a lot of different things. They're a very aggressive, hard-playing team."

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