Gators and Ospreys meet

17 November 2017 06:48:08 GMTPlus10

The Florida Gators began the week with a crushing 116-74 triumph over Gardner-Webb at the start of a home stand.

The Gators opened the season ranked eighth in the nation by the Associated Press in their Top 25 Preseason Poll and remained there in the first week as they were one of the few teams not scheduled to play the opening weekend.

Monday the Gators crushed Gardner-Webb and Thursday Florida will entertain the North Florida Ospreys at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in the second of three games in their opening home stand.

New Hampshire follows North Florida in town before the Gators head west to face Stanford in the Phil Knight Invitational at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, OR.

Either Ohio State or Gonzaga await and the Invitational should be a good early season challenge for the Gators.

Egor Koulechov, a transfer from Rice, led the way for Florida against Gardner-Webb as the graduate transfer hit 11-of-17 from the floor, including 6-of-9 from long range for a game-high 34 points in the 116-74 triumph.

Jalen Hudson chipped in with 16 points and Deaundrae Ballard and Mike Okauru each scored double figures off the bench.

North Florida has yet to win a game in three attempts having lost to Michigan State, Michigan and VCU.

The Ospreys have been getting closer, losing 98-66 to the Spartans, 86-66 to the Wolverines and 95-85 to the Rams, but it would be something of a surprise if they continued that trend against a useful Florida side.

The Gators also face Florida State, Cincinnati and Clemson in their non-conference schedule and with two games in the SEC against Kentucky, Florida appears to have a very well rounded schedule for the campaign.

Florida are 3001.00 to win the NCAAB Championship this season, Duke are 3001.00 while Kentucky are 3001.00.

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