Gators looking to defend three-point line vs. Belmont

Emma Green / Alligator Staff Devin Robinson looks to shoot during Florida’s win against Ole Miss on Feb. 9, 2016, in the O’Connell Center. With less than two minutes left against St. Bonaventure, the Gators had seen their 15-point lead evaporate as the Bonnies tied the game with a three-point play.

“My stomach hurt,” coach Mike White said.

But a last-minute, seven-point spurt powered UF to a close 73-66 win on Thursday.

Florida (3-0) will need to stop similar slip-ups from happening tonight at 7 when it plays Belmont (1-1) in Tampa.

White said the team’s particularly focused on stopping the Bruins from beyond the arc. Belmont shoots 38 threes per game, third most in the country.

“With this one, it’s such a simplistic approach. If we don’t defend the three very well, Belmont will beat you,” White said.

“We’ll stress it for an hour and a half today. Do everything you can to defend the three-point line in several different areas.”

So far, Florida’s opponents have outshot the Gators from three, shooting 36.4 percent to UF’s 35.1 percent.

With five Belmont players shooting at or above 40 percent from three this season, Gators forward Devin Robinson said it’s difficult to cover a team with so many three-point threats.

“(They’ve) got shooters all over the court,” Robinson said.

“We’ve just gotta keep rotating, do our jobs and make sure they don’t get as many threes off as the last team did, because then we’ll be in trouble.”

But Florida can heat up from three-point land as well.

Robinson, Florida’s leading scorer, has made four of his six three-point attempts this season and is shooting above 60 percent from the field.Robinson said he credits his shooting improvements to the stress fracture in his foot the training staff discovered at the end of last season.“I really think me being hurt helped my shot tremendously,” the junior said.“I did a lot of form shooting, shooting out of the chair when I had a broken foot.”He said as long as he shoots with confidence and holds his release, he knows the ball has a good chance of going in.White said Robinson has stepped up on the defensive end as well.“He’s a different defender than he was six weeks ago,” White said.“He’s made a commitment to it, probably about three or four weeks ago, and it’s been pretty consistent.”Through the first three games, the 6-foot-8 small forward is second on the team with 7.3 rebounds per game and has grabbed six steals, tied for most on the team.“Whether he scores it or not, whether shots are falling or not, whether he gets a tipped dunk or not, he can hang his hat on helping this team in those areas,” White said. Contact Matt Brannon at mbrannon@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @MattB_727 .