"I have a hard time figuring these guys out sometimes," Donovan said.
But the Gators regrouped with a 72-58 win against LSU, avoiding their first 0-3 start in SEC play since 1981-82. Florida overcame an 11-for-21 shooting night from the free-throw line by playing quality defense against the undermanned Tigers.
The Gators held LSU to 42.6 percent shooting from the floor and just 16.7 percent (2-12) from 3-point range.
"Nobody said winning is always going to be pretty," Florida point guard Erving Walker said. "But losing is even uglier."
After losing tough games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky to start the season, Florida was looking for positives. A bright spot was the play of junior center Vernon Macklin. After getting in foul trouble in both the Vanderbilt and Kentucky losses, Macklin stayed on the floor long enough to contribute 14 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes.
The Gators are 9-1 when Macklin scores in double figures. Macklin fouled out against Vanderbilt and drew four fouls against Kentucky,
"It feels good not to give fouls like I was in the first two (SEC) games," Macklin said.
--G Erving Walker is off to a hot shooting start in SEC play. Walker is 11-for-21 from 3-point range in his first thee SEC games.
--F Dan Werner is in a prolonged shooting slump. Werner has made just two of his last 23 3-point attempts and was 0-for-4 from 3-point range in Florida's 89-77 loss to Kentucky.
--F Alex Tyus is averaging 14.8 points and 7.3 rebounds over his last eight games.
JANUARY AT A GLANCE
Florida continues the month with winnable games at Arkansas (Jan. 21), against South Carolina (Jan. 23) and Georgia (Jan. 27) before traveling to Tennessee for a Jan. 31 showdown. Florida has lost seven of its last eight against the Vols.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"To get this win against a team like LSU, a team that none of us have ever beaten, it's big for us right now. I think it's something we can build off of."
-- Florida junior forward Chandler Parsons, on the Gators snapping a three-game losing streak against LSU on Saturday night.
To try to prepare his team to start better in the second half, Florida coach Billy Donovan had the Gators practice for an hour, take five-to-eight minutes off to study tape, then practice a final hour on the Friday before facing LSU. The strategy worked. Up 37-30 at halftime against LSU, Florida put the game away with a 20-4 run to start the second half. Florida had previously given up more than 50 points in the second half in losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. "I think you are always trying to do different things during the course of the season," Donovan said. "I don't know how much it helped. But we've had some slow starts in the second half."
--C Kenny Kadji remains out indefinitely with a herniated disc in his lower back.
--F Chandler Parsons replaced F Dan Werner in the starting lineup against LSU because Werner missed three practices with the flu. Parsons finished the game with 11 points and three assists. Werner had one point and two rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.
Macklin Helped Gators in Win over LSU
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