November 27, 2014

Coach Billy Donovan certainly isn't happy with Florida's .500 record, but he's probably even more disappointed with the team's offensive struggles.

His mood may be about to change.

The No. 18 Gators attempt to end their worst offensive start to a season in 65 years on Thursday night when they meet seemingly overmatched UAB in the consolation round of the Battle for Atlantis.

Florida (2-2) has alternated wins and losses through the first four games, with the defeats coming by a combined three points. That will only increase the scrutiny on the Gators' offensive play since they've failed to reach 70 points in each of their first four games for the first time since 1949-50.

They even had more time to get there Wednesday, falling 66-65 in overtime to Georgetown after giving up the decisive jumper with 3.4 seconds left. Eli Carter failed to put the game away in regulation, as he attempted to drive to the basket through a slew of defenders only to have his shot knocked away at the buzzer.

"We don't play the right way. We don't play the right way. We don't," Donovan said. "I would say this: We're not an overly talented team and we don't have a lot of size. We're a team that can be a hard-working team, can be an unselfish team, but we need to pass and share the basketball.

"I would say our basketball acumen needs to get a lot better. There's not a great feel sometimes with decisions that we make."

Donovan would surely like to see better shot selection from his team, which has hit 34.5 percent from the field - 9 for 38 from 3-point range - over the past two games. Florida converted 49.5 percent of its field goals and shot 14 of 34 from long distance in the previous two.

Michael Frazier II has been part of the recent struggles, going 4 for 11 in each of the last two games. However, that resulted in a season-high 21 points in Friday's 61-56 win over Louisiana-Monroe before he scored a season-low 12 against the Hoyas.

The Gators would appear to be headed for a better shooting performance considering the Blazers (2-3) give up an average of 70.0 points and 45.6 percent shooting.

They allowed No. 2 Wisconsin to shoot 51.9 percent and committed 19 turnovers that led to 28 points in Wednesday's 72-43 loss. UAB also missed 15 of 19 from beyond the arc and was outscored 13-3 from the foul line.

"I thought we were thoroughly dominated by a very, very good basketball team," coach Jerod Haase said.

Robert Brown was the only Blazer to score in double digits, finishing with 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting. The junior guard is averaging 14.0 points over the last three games despite converting just 4 of 18 3s.

UAB has lost eight of nine against ranked opponents, beating No. 16 North Carolina on Dec. 1.

The winner of this game will meet either fifth-ranked North Carolina or No. 22 UCLA in the fifth-place game Friday with the losers facing off for seventh.

Florida has won the last two meetings with UAB, most recently on Jan. 3, 2012.

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