Gators Hot-Shooting Finishes off Bucs

Coming off their worst shooting effort of the season, the Florida Gators (11-1) had no trouble finding the bottom of the net in their return to the O-Dome against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers (5-6). The Gators opened up the game by hitting nine of their first ten shots and racing out to an 18-0 lead.

Freshman guard Nick Calathes led the way with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Junior guard Walter Hodge also stood out with 16 points of his own to go with six assists and five steals.

Head coach Billy Donovan's voice was hoarse at the post game press conference and he attributed it to a bit of a cold and some of the tough love he's had to give to his young team. He's had his share of frustration with their lack of experience, but he's always maintained how inspired he is by their positive attitude and willingness to learn and get better.

"I'm happy we won," Donovan said. "But every day's an adventure with these guys."

While the Gators maintained a comfortable lead for the entire game, Charleston Southern was able to keep the score respectable with impressive shooting from beyond the arc. The Gators have done a good job of defending the three-point shot this season, but they allowed the Buccaneers to hit 12-22 tre's. It's something that freshman forward Chandler Parsons said that they could ill-afford in the games to come.

"When we start playing teams like Ohio State and SEC teams," Parsons said. "They're just going to jump on our neck and not let us come back if we do that."

It all begins this Saturday when the Gators travel to Columbus, Ohio to face to the Buckeyes (7-3) on national television. Though the two teams last faced each other in the national championship game, they're both drastically different teams. But in a sense, the two teams are very similar in that they have some veteran talent, but for the most part, are relying on a stellar freshman class to carry them.

"We're a completely different team. They're a completely different team," Parsons said. "All the games that they've played in the past few years – like the national championships in football and basketball – it feels like that wasn't even our team."

It will also be the Gators' first true road game where they'll play in front of a crowd that isn't predominately wearing orange and blue. And for a team full of players that haven't experienced a road environment outside of high school, it'll be interesting to see how they respond.

Questions or comments? Contact's Blake Bonsack

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