Gators Grab Ninth Win

After a somewhat disappointing outing in their previous game, the Florida Gators (9-1) returned to form with a 91-52 over the Florida A&M Rattlers (2-6). Coach Billy Donovan lauded the team's offense once again and was satisfied with the way they had responded defensively.

"I thought, offensively, this was probably the best game we've played all year," Donovan said. "I was really pleased with our unselfishness, the way we passed and shared the basketball, the pace and tempo which we played with."

A big part of that unselfishness and tempo in the past two games has been the outstanding play of freshmen guard Nick Calathes, who nearly compiled a triple-double again with 20 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. In the past two games he's had a total of 18 assists while only committing three turnovers.

"I was impressed with Nick tonight because you come off a game where you score 24 points and I've seen it happen so many times," Donovan said. "A young player comes off a really big game and more often than not the next game is a complete disaster. I thought Nick played with a great tempo."

It's been quite the resurgence for Calathes, after being squarely criticized by Donovan for his play in the Gators only loss of the season to Florida State. Donovan has been happy with the way that Calathes has responded but doesn't want him to lose perspective of how far he's come.

"I told him on the bench today that if you embrace this and think you've got it all figured out you're making the biggest mistake of your life," Donovan said. "This has been because of focus and maybe me being on him excessively, me sitting him. But you know what? He's gotten better. That's all I want to see our guys do is get better and play the game the right way."

The Gators were also aided by the play of Adam Allen, who appears to be fully recovered from a minor ankle injury that he suffered Nov. 27 against Stetson. Allen was 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc and totaled 19 points and four rebounds.

"I had a couple games that I didn't play so hot," Allen said. "I've been trying to get back into shape. After I hurt my ankle I had to take three days off of practice. I played limited minutes in the games because of my wind. It feels good to come out here and knock down some shots."

The Rattlers were outmatched in size and athleticism to begin with, but they made matters worse by shooting an abysmal 29 percent compared to the Gators' 62.7 percent. It could've been even more lopsided if the Gators had done a better job of limiting easy baskets off turnovers. Donovan talked about that concern.

"We're a loud mistake team," Donovan said. "And what I mean by that is when we make a mistake, we pay for it with a dunk on the other end or a lay-up. They've got to understand there are good mistakes and there are bad mistakes. There are mistakes that you can recover from and there're mistakes you can't recover from. We've got to get better in that area."

Donovan also related that concept to the Gators' previous game against Jacksonville University. He said that of the 24 miscues that his team committed in the game, the Dolphins were able to score on 17 of them. It was also a big part of why they struggled so much against Florida State.

Having played a long stretch of games over the past month, the Gators will have a 10-day break from the schedule before returning to action on December 15. They'll face Georgia Southern in Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Blake Bonsack


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