Florida’s sloppiness caught up to it in its first game against a ranked opponent.
The ninth-ranked Gators look to bounce back Thursday night at home when they meet North Carolina A&T for the first time.
Florida (1-1) wasn’t sharp with 15 turnovers in a 77-60 win over North Carolina-Wilmington in last Friday’s opener. The Gators had 18 more turnovers Tuesday in a 93-75 loss to No. 4 Ohio State.
“Our turnovers opened the game up,” coach Billy Donovan told the Gators’ official website. “It’s a huge concern for me, it really is, because I think a lot of that has to do with discipline. I thought we got stagnant. The biggest key for our team is can we become more disciplined and can we make good decisions in what we’re doing.”
Florida shot 61.2 percent and had four starters in double figures. The Gators led by as many as seven points in the first half and by three at the break before the Buckeyes used a 55-point second half to take control.
“They started jumping on us,” forward Chandler Parsons said. “They started hitting some shots. We didn’t start executing. We weren’t very disciplined on offense. It’s early and it’s a learning experience. To play a team that good early on, hopefully it turns out to be a good thing us.”
Kenny Boynton scored a team-high 21 points and Parsons had 13 and seven rebounds. Point guard Erving Walker added 15 points, but had seven turnovers. Walker has four assists and nine turnovers this season.
“To lose the last 10 minutes just hopefully helps our guys understand how far we have to go to be a complete team for 40 minutes,” Donovan said.
The Gators have split their last six non-conference home games after winning 23 of their previous 24.
Although Florida has never faced North Carolina A&T (1-2), the Gators are 21-0 against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Gators have beaten at least one MEAC opponent in each of the previous eight seasons.
The Aggies opened with road losses to the Buckeyes, 102-61 last Friday and 84-61 to Morehead State on Sunday. They won their home opener over Division III North Carolina Wesleyan, 100-66 on Tuesday.
Senior center Thomas Coleman had 17 points and 13 rebounds for his second straight double-double to lead all five starters in double figures.
“We started the season with Ohio State who is No. 5 in the nation and Morehead State who is picked to win the (Ohio Valley Conference),” coach Jerry Eaves said. “That was a tough way to start the season. This was a very good game for us because it gave us a good feel about ourselves, and it gave us some success.”
Eaves is in his ninth season as coach of the Aggies, and is 0-3 against SEC foes and 0-8 against the Top 25.