Gators aiming to avoid complacency

No. 3 Florida rides a 12-game winning streak into Saturday's game against Texas A&M, the seventh-longest winning streak in Florida history. It's also the fourth time under Billy Donovan that the Gators have opened league play with seven straight wins. With almost everything going Florida's way in the last two months, Donovan is trying to keep his team focused.

There have been times when they haven't looked completely dialed in. In Florida's last three road games, the Gators have been in close games against Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State. Thursday's win over Mississippi State included the Gators trailing three different times and taking only a one-point lead into halftime.

The outcome was the best-case scenario for the Gators going forward. Florida won to improve to 7-0 in conference play, but the team returned to Gainesville with plenty of film of areas they could improve.

"I didn't think we played great (Thursday)," Billy Donovan said. "Hopefully that in itself is an opportunity for us to grow and get better. We've got a lot of room to grow and get better, and we need to play better tomorrow than we did on Thursday night."

Donovan didn't think energy was the problem on Thursday. The Gators had four days between games and had fresh legs before facing the Bulldogs. The issues simply came down to execution. The Gators spent Friday's practice going over their mistakes.

"Our guys for the most part are great kids," Donovan said. "They work very hard. They want to win. They're very, very coachable. But like anything else, when you're in a competitive situation, a competitive environment, there's going to be breakdowns, there's going to be mistakes There's areas for us to grow and get better from that."

Saturday's game closes out back-to-back weeks with Thursday-Saturday turnarounds. It's the final time Florida has to do that this season, but Donovan has a great history of it. Since the SEC added Thursday games, the Gators are 18-1 when facing either day of the Thursday-Saturday turnaround.

They'll see a slumping Texas A&M team on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Aggies are riding a four-game losing streak, hitting the low point on Wednesday with a 28-point loss at South Carolina. It was the Gamecocks' first SEC win this year.

Before the four-game losing streak, the Aggies opened SEC play on a three-game winning streak. Saturday will be Texas A&M's first trip to Gainesville since joining the conference and first time overall since 1992.

"I think they're a very good team," Donovan said. "They have a lot of different pieces."

Donovan called Texas A&M guard Jamal Jones "as good a player as there is in this league" as he averages 11.7 points this season. Junior Kourtney Roberson is a veteran 6-9 forward that has "been in the league for a long, long time." Sophomore guard Alex Caruso leads the SEC with 4.7 assists per game.

"They have very, very good personnel," Donovan said. "They got a big win at Tennessee. They beat Arkansas at home. And they've had some really good, quality wins throughout the course of the season. They're a very good, talented basketball team."


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