Radford (2-8) at (20) Florida (8-3)
Wednesday, December 22nd, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stephen C. O'Connell Center (12,000) -- Gainesville, Florida. Television: CSS. Home Record: Radford 2-3, Florida 5-2. Away Record: Radford 0-5, Florida 1-0. Neutral Record: Radford 0-0, Florida 2-1. Conference Record: Radford 0-2, Florida 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The 20th-ranked Florida Gators welcome the Radford Highlanders to the O'Connell Center this evening for non-conference action in Gainesville.
Billy Donovan's Gators are the epitome of a "Jekyll and Hyde" team. Florida has some big wins on the season, highlighted by Saturday's 57-44 triumph over nationally-ranked Kansas State. The victory was the eighth on the year for Florida and landed the team back in the top-25 this week. However, staying there may not be that easy considering the team followed that huge victory up with a clunker on Monday, falling in overtime to Jacksonville, 71-68.
The Highlanders on the other hand have been rather consistent this season, consistently bad that is. The team opened the year with two straight victories but has dropped eight consecutive decisions since, including a 64-50 setback at UNC-Wilmington over the weekend.
This marks the first time these two teams have met on the hardwood.
Radford is sporting a -13.6 scoring margin and a lack of scoring depth is certainly the main factor in the team's slow start in the first half of the season. The Highlanders are shooting a poor .365 from the floor, anchored down by .288 showing from long range. The result is a mere 55.6 ppg. There are no double-digit scoring threats heading into this contest, as Gorkem Sonmez paces the team with just 9.9 ppg. Tolga Cerrah scored a season-high 16 points on 6- of-10 shooting, but it wasn't enough to land Radford back in the win column, as the Highlanders fell by 14 points in Wilmington over the weekend. Cerrah was joined in double figures by Johnathan Edwards and Blake Smith, who finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively. However, Radford managed to shoot just .372 from the field overall and committed 17 turnovers.
The Gators are not a flashy offensive team either, but the difference is that Florida makes the most of its trips up and down the floor, converting a healthy 47.2 percent from the field overall. Three of the team's five starters are averaging double figures, with the other two just under that mark. Erving Walker leads the way with 13.0 ppg. Kenny Boynton (12.4 ppg) and Vernon Macklin (11.0 ppg) aren't far behind, with Chandler Parsons (9.7 ppg) and Alex Tyus (9.1 ppg) completing the top scoring threats. The Gators were unable to carry over any momentum from the big win over Kansas State, as they fell at home to Jacksonville on Monday. The Dolphins outlasted the Gators by shooting 60 percent from the floor in the extra session compared to a mere 28.6 percent for the home team. Tyus (10 pts, 11 rebs) and Macklin (13 pts, 10 rebs) recorded their first double-doubles of the year, but it wasn't enough. Walker had a huge game with 21 points and Boynton finished with 12, but UF was unable to get things going in overtime.
Radford is 0-13 all-time against top-25 foes. With a lack of scoring options this season the Highlanders aren't likely to end the skein in Gainesville.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida 78, Radford 47
12/22 10:45:04 ET