Gators set sights on Spiders in non-conference fray

01/04/2014 8:17 AM

01/04/2014 8:22 AM

Gainesville, FL ( - The 12th-ranked Florida Gators close out their non-conference schedule on Saturday afternoon, as they play host to the Richmond Spiders at the O'Connell Center.

Billy Donovan's Gators are 10-2 on the season with the two losses coming to nationally-ranked opponents in Wisconsin and Connecticut. Florida enters this contest with a four-game win streak after destroying Savannah State on Dec. 29, 76-34. The win over Savannah State marked the 22nd straight home win for Florida, the second-longest home win streak in school history.

The Spiders aren't an easy out, as they come into this game with a solid 10-4 record. Richmond has won two straight and seven of its last nine, including a 70-66 win over Northeastern last weekend.

Richmond has won two of the three previous meetings with Florida, including a 56-53 victory in the last meeting in the 2009 Orange Bowl Classic.

The Spiders were highly efficient, converting 55.1 percent from the floor overall, including 56.3 percent from behind the arc (9-of-16) in last weekend's victory over the Huskies. Cedrick Lindsay led the way with a team- high 18 points. Kendall Anthony added 15 points, while Derrick Williams checked in with 12 points.

Richmond isn't an offensive-minded squad this season, posting modest numbers with 69.9 ppg, on .447 shooting. The team's strength however, comes at the defensive end, where foes are netting just 63.4 ppg and being held under 40 percent shooting overall (.394) and under 30 percent from behind the arc (.283). Despite the lack of impressive numbers as a team, Richmond does possess a star guard in Lindsay, who is a potent scorer (18.6 ppg), deft distributor (4.6 apg) and strong defender (2.3 spg). Anthony (13.0 ppg) is also in double figures in the scoring column.

The Spiders are good defensively, but Florida is downright stingy. The Gators are among the nation's best defensive squads, limiting the opposition to just 58.8 ppg, while posting positives in both rebounding margin (+5.6) and turnover margin (+3.2). Balance at the offensive end is key, as UF boasts of five players averaging double figures. Casey Prather leads the way in the frontcourt with 17.8 ppg. He is aided along the frontline by fellow forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and center Patric Young (10.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg). Backcourt depth is found in the form of guards Scottie Wilbekin (12.0 ppg) and Michael Frazier II (11.4 ppg).

The Gators were at their defensive best against Savannah State, limiting their opponent to a mere 34 total points, on an ugly .245 shooting in addition to forcing 20 turnovers. Florida also held a huge 42-30 advantage on the boards, while outscoring Savannah State, 32-14 in the paint. Young led four Gators in double figures with 15 points. Frazier added 11 points, while Prather and Wilbekin finished with 10 points apiece.

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