The University of Florida Gators basketball team kicked off the 2014 season with an exhibition game against the Barry Buccaneers in the O-Dome. The #7 Gators emerged victorious as they won the contest 79-70. A win by just nine points is indeed surprising, but a win is a win.
This Gator team is completely different than the one that came within two wins of a National Championship last year. This can be evidenced by the play of redshirt junior Eli Carter. Originally a transfer from Rutgers, Carter missed most of the 2013 season due to a season ending injury. Now back and fully recovered, Carter balled this game as he scored a team high 21 points.
Carter was not the only Gator in double digits. Both Dorian Finney-Smith and Michael Frazier II had 16 and 15 points a piece, respectively. Finney-Smith also had 10 rebounds to give him a double-double on the night. Also helping out on the boards was the newest Gator in Jon Horford, the younger brother of Gator legend Al Horford.
A transfer from Michigan, Horford snagged 10 rebounds and scored five points. I was very impressed by Horford's play tonight and I look forward to watching him as the season unfolds. It appears already that he is going to be a valuable addition to this Gator squad after the loss of Patric Young to the NBA.
Sophomore Kasey Hill looked ready to fulfill a bigger role at point guard this year as he dished out eight assists and tallied seven points. Another returning Gator expected to step up his game is Michael Frazier II. Although he scored 15 points in the game, they all came in the first half. From deep, Frazier II was just 3-12 on three-point attempts. Hopefully this was just an anomaly and Frazier II will rediscover his rhythm by the time the season is in full swing.
The Gators are still 0-0 as this game was a preseason game. They will officially start the season with their home opener against William & Mary next Friday, November 14, at 6 p.m. Barry is also 0-0 after two exhibition losses to Louisville on November 1 and the Gators tonight. They begin their season with a home opener against Johnson & Wales on Friday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m.
*All stats accredited to Gatorzone.com