Gators Pound the Braves

The University of Florida basketball team stayed undefeated on this young season pounding Bradley 81-58 in Gainesville. The Gators showed their shooting prowess making 14 3-pointers on the day. Florida (2-0) was led in scoring again by junior forward Dan Werner and senior guard Walter Hodge with 17 points each. There was a lot to like from Head Coach Billy Donovan's point of view.

Florida got off to a slow start scoring on the night trailing for most of the first eight minutes and falling behind 13-10 with 12:02 left in the first half. A Dan Werner three point shot tied it up with 11:04 left in the first half and that was the last time the Gators would not have the lead.

Werner continued his hot shooting from outside going 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Donovan attributed his and the other deep shots on the style of defense they Bradley used.

"We would have liked to do more around the basket, but with the way Bradley played defensively it opened up for us to shoot the ball," Donovan said after the game. "I think we won the game today because of the 3-point line.

Florida made their biggest run of the first half only three minutes after tying it up. With 8:04 on the clock Bradley guard Dodie Dunson hit a 3-point shot to make the score 19-18, the Gators having a one-point lead. Two 3-point shots by Walter Hodge and a couple of technical free throws were mixed in a 13-0 run that put the Gators up 32-18 with 5:05 left in the half.

The 3-point sh0ts in the game and it was the second most shots ever made against Bradley sine the implementation of the three point line. No one has made this many threes against the Braves since March 8, 2003. Donovan knows how key the shooting has been and likes what he sees from his young team shooting the ball.

"I think we are a year older, which helps," Donovan said about the improvement from the arc. Erving Walker gives us another added three point shooter. Dan Werner seems to be more relaxed shooting the ball at this point. Nick Calathes has shot it well. I think we can get better when Chandler comes around. "

Sophomore forward Chandler Parsons had a mixed review kind of game. He went 2-of-7 from the field and 0-of-5 from 3-point land. However, he banged inside, crashed the boards and played excellent defense, finishing with 10 rebounds an assist, two blocks, and two steals.

"Chandler hasn't shot the ball real well, but he has to understand good shots," Donovan said. "I thought some of his shots were a little bit out of rhythm. The good thing about Chandler is he grabbed seven rebounds in the first half and ten for the game and from the small forward spot, which is a very good job.

"I think what you are better off doing is to focus on defense, on team things, getting an easy bucket, and focus on things you have control over. Chandler coming out of his freshman year didn't shoot a great percentage, and he isn't doing that now. I think it is our responsibility as a staff to help him get better. I have confidence in him. We need him to (shoot). There are going to be ups and downs in any season in shooting."

The Gators had three starters score in double figures…Werner with his 17, Calathes with 13, and Hodge with 17. Freshman guard Erving Walker came off the bench to score 10 points.

"We are trying to share the basketball with Dan Werner who has been a consistent scorer," Donovan said. "The effort by Shipman, by Chaney, by Chandler was very good. The balance…Nick, Walter, and Dan have been doing it. I'd like to see us get to a point where we get 4-5 guys in double figures…that would be great."

Bradley came in with a big front court and one that would test the Gators inside struggles on the boards. The Braves 7-0 center David Collins was in foul trouble early and that seemed to help, but the Gators really hit the back board hard and finished ahead 39-33 in the rebounding department sparked by Parsons' 10, Calathes' 7, center Alex Tyus' 5, Werner's 4 and reserve guard ray Shipman's 4.

"That was something I was disappointed in the last game," Donovan said of the rebounding effort Friday night. "It was very obvious that our three, four, and five did not make the effort against Toledo that we would have liked them to make. That was reflective here against a bigger, stronger, maybe more athletic team than Toledo in the front court. They made a concentrated effort to go and chase some balls."

Freshman forward Allan Chaney had an impressive effort in his second game as a Gator. Chaney finished with nine points, two rebounds, an assist, and a steal. He played 20 minutes and did not look tentative at all against a mature front court.

"I think the biggest thing Allan is adjusting to is the speed and quickness of the college game," Donovan said. "He is a tough kid, a competitive kid, he tries to rebound and do all the things you ask him to do."

Although the Gators only shot 68.4% on free throws for the night, Donovan again expressed his pleasure in getting after the ball and getting to the charity stripe.

"The one thing that is good is we are getting to the free throw line," he said. "We are trying to some things to take some advantage of guys and their ability to slash."

Bradley was led in scoring by guard Dodie Dunson who played 37 minutes and scored 15. The Braves out-shot the Gators from the field shooting 44.9% for the game, but struggled from the 3-point line shooting 29.2%. The Braves also committed 23 turnovers on the night due to the ball hawking defense of the Gators.

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