Gameday: No. 3 Florida Gators vs. Missouri Tigers; injury updates, Chris Walker debuts for UF

By Adam Silverstein
February 4, 2014

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Brad Nessler, Dick Vitale)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Frank Haith
Record: 19-2 (8-0 SEC) Record: 16-5 (4-4 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -12 | O/U: OFF


» Florida and Missouri are 1-1 all-time against each other with each team winning a game on their respective home court in 2012-13. The Gators and Tigers only play once during the 2013-14 campaign.
» UF is currently riding a school-record 27-game home winning streak (third longest in the nation). Florida has also tied a program record with 13 consecutive home wins against league opponents and is looking to break that record on Tuesday.
» The Gators have opened league play with a 8-0 record for just the third time under Donovan. The school record for best SEC start is 11-0, set in 2007.
» Florida is on a 13-game winning streak and has won 18 of its last 19 games.
» The Gators are 71-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF has started 19-2 through 21 games for the third time in school history. The first two times the Gators achieved that mark, they won the national title (2005-06, 2006-07).
» Florida is 8-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» Florida is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» The Gators are 5-2 in true road games this season.
» Missouri is 5-3 under Haith against top 10-ranked opponents.


Senior forward Casey Prather, who has been dealing with a sore ankle for nearly a week, did not start Saturday (after missing practice Friday) but still managed to play most of the game. The same could be the case for Prather on Tuesday as he missed practice Sunday and was going to attempt to get on the court Monday.

“We wanted to give him some extra rest,” Donovan explained. “He’ll come in for some rehab [Monday]. I’m sure he’ll do some [on-court work], but I don’t think it’s a major ankle sprain; it’s not a high-ankle sprain. But he does have some swelling and soreness in it.”

Unlike Prather, sophomore F DeVon Walker never got on the court Saturday as he was continuing to deal with soreness from a hip pointer he suffered last week. Donovan was confident Monday that Walker would be able to join his teammates Tuesday.

“With the way the game was going, I did not see a need to kind of put him in harm’s way,” he said. “DeVon’s further along than probably Prather is right now, but he should be full go and should be fine [Tuesday].”


Guard Jabari Brown has been close to unstoppable for the Tigers over the last month, scoring 20 or more points in six-straight SEC games while averaging 25.8 points on 60.3 percent shooting (65.7 percent from downtown). He has also connected on 38-of-44 attempts from the charity stripe.

The Gators’ three-point defense has been lacking all season, and Donovan is well-aware of that fact. On Monday, he discussed how Florida will try to defend Brown and his teammates, which are also quality shooters from beyond the arc.

“Their three guys on the perimeter are really, really difficult covers because you could play really, really good defense. … We could play unbelievable defense and these guys have the ability to really make shots against really good defense because they’re that talented,” Donovan explained. “I think when you look in SEC play, a guy like Jabari Brown shooting 57 percent — that’s hard to do in a gym with nobody guarding you. He’s getting everybody’s attention. Everybody understands what he’s been doing. He’s getting over 23 [points] a game. He’s done it against great defenses and people that put an emphasis and a focus on him. I think that’s a tribute to him offensively how good and talented he is.”


» Florida freshman F Chris Walker will debut for the Gators on Tuesday, playing his first game in orange and blue despite practicing with the team over the course of their last 12 contests. Read about what Walker, Donovan and the team had to say about the freshman heading into his first collegiate game.

» Donovan on the team struggling in February: “This happens every year to us. With the way the league has shaked out right now after eight games, we’ve played six games against the lower half of our league and we’ve only played two games against the upper half. And I think our league has always done this where for us our league [schedule] is really, really back-loaded a lot of times and we end up playing at the end of our schedule a lot more difficult and challenging a schedule in the month of February than maybe we play in January. It’s all going to even out in the end.”

» Donovan on Florida’s poor free-throw shooting: “I certainly think we can get better from the free-throw line, that’s got be an area we make an improvement on. We have our frontcourt players right now, all those guys are shooting 55, 56, 57 percent. That’s got to be a focus for us to try to continue to work on that, try to get better in that area. … I do think that the free-throw thing, it’s the one time in the game where you’ve got to have a pretty broad focus when you’re playing the game in terms of your awareness of what’s going on – on offense and defense. You’ve got to be aware. But it’s the one play in basketball where you should really just narrow your focus on what you need to do at the free-throw line.”

» Senior center Patric Young on whether the Gators can win a high-scoring game: “The way our offense goes, we’re supposed to be scoring a lot more points, we just have been missing a lot of opportunities. The coaches showed that to us on film. We would like to not allow them to score as many points as us, of course, but if that’s what it comes down to it’s just going to come down at the end who wants the game more.”

» Young on what UF does best as a team: “We’re disruptive, we’re balanced, we’re a selfless team. We have great chemistry. We’re a very coachable, likable team, I can say. And we’re just having fun out there together, that’s the number one thing.”


Young is one of four true seniors on the roster but the only one steadily inching his way up many of Florida’s all-time lists. He has played in 130 career games and will only add to his totals as the season progresses. Earlier this season, Young became just the 50th player in school history to score 1,000 career points.

41. Reggie Hannah – 1,114
42. Sonny Powell – 1,109
43. Gary Keller – 1,104
44. Harry Hamilton – 1,102
45. Patric Young – 1,100

Blocked Shots
1. Dwayne Schintzius – 272
6. Eugene McDowell – 150
7. Patric Young – 140

Field Goal Percentage (minimum 500 attempts)
1. Dwayne Davis – .641
4. Eugene McDowell – .597
5. Al Horford – .588
6. Patric Young – .586

Dunks (unofficial statistic)
1. Dwayne Davis – 168
4. Alex Tyus – 146
5. Joakim Noah – 130
6. Patric Young – 129

Wins at an SEC school
1. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) – 875
2. Dale Brown (LSU) – 448
3. Billy Donovan (Florida) – 434


  1. Michael Jones says:

    I’m beyond fired-up.

  2. Guest says:

    I’m really hoping for a Kasey Hill to Chris Walker highlight alley-lop, that would make for the best thing ever.

  3. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Woop woop – come on 9 pm!!

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