Hide caption Florida forward Devin Robinson, left, center Kevarrius Hayes (13) and guard Canyon Barry cheer their teammates near the end of the game Saturday against Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. Florida won 84-52. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS / SUE OGROCKI Gators producing better results away from the friendly confines
Florida coach Mike White admitted he was "nervous as heck" about getting on a plane back to Gainesville shorty after the Gators trounced Oklahoma 84-52.
It had nothing to do with a fear of flying. While No. 25 Florida has made a habit of clearing out opposing arenas early of late, the Gators have kept fans more on edge at the newly-renovated O’Connell Center this season.
It’s a trend the Gators would like to reverse, beginning Thursday at home against Missouri (7 p.m., ESPN2).
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Florida improved to 5-2 in true road games after back-to-back 30-plus point wins over LSU and Oklahoma last week. But the Gators are coming off a 68-66 loss to Vanderbilt in their last home game and needed overtime to beat Georgia (80-76) in a home game before that.
"We’ve got better focus on the road, as our record has shown," Florida senior forward Canyon Barry said. "We haven’t played as well at home and that’s something we’ve been stressing is trying to just have that mentality and focus for every game be it on the road or at home. So definitely going to work on that coming up this week."
White said the big reason why the Gators haven’t been as dominant at home is defense. In five games in the O’Dome, Florida is allowing opposing teams to shoot 49.1 percent from the field (131-for-267) and 33 percent from 3-point range (30-for-90).
"I love our new arena," White said. "I love our fans. The Rowdies have been incredible. It’s been electric in there. And it’s not like we’ve shot it poorly in there. For whatever reason, our defensive numbers and attention to detail and focus on defense has not been matched, compared to how we’ve defended and competed on the road. It’s odd."White said it’s something he plans to address heading into the scouting report with Missouri this week. The Gators are still 4-1 at home, but maintaining a homecourt edge will be crucial with No. 4 Kentucky looming Saturday at the O’Dome in a matchup that will be featured on ESPN’s CollegeGameDay."I don’t know whether it’s distractions or being overly comfortable in thinking it’s just going to happen for us because we’re at home," White said. "But we’re going to continue to address it as much as anything."Florida doesn’t have the same issue on the road, given the win margins. Florida has won three games by 30 or more points on the road (Dec. 1, 91-60 at UNF, Jan. 25 106-71 at LSU and Jan. 28 84-52 at Oklahoma) for the most 30-point road wins in program history. The results this past week were the first back-to-back 30-point wins for […]