Florida waited a week longer than most Division I teams to start its basketball season. The Gators won't have to wait nearly as long to play their second game.
After opening their campaign Wednesday with a come-from-behind, 76-69 win over Army in the Mohegan Sun bubble, Florida stays in Uncasville, Fla., to face Boston College on Thursday night.
While the narrow win over a Patriot League opponent might raise red flags for some, the Gators didn't receive a cushy draw. Army was playing its fourth game, and as ESPN analyst Jon Crispin noted at various points throughout the first half, the Black Knights simply looked anywhere from a half-step to a step and a half quicker than Florida simply because of prior game experience.
However, with the game on the line, the Gators tapped into their quickness and strength advantages, producing the last nine points.
"We looked a little more confident down the stretch and played with a little more moxie to do just enough," Florida coach Mike White said. "Obviously, it wasn't a great performance, but it was our first performance against another team and we were very much out of character in a lot of areas as opposed to practice. That's why you play these games."
Sophomore Tre Mann scored 19 points to lead the Gators, canning 7 of 8 free throws in the last minute. Cleveland State transfer Tyree Appleby offered a boost off the bench with 15 points, and Michigan transfer Colin Castleton contributed nine points and eight rebounds.
Meanwhile, Boston College (1-2) is playing its fourth consecutive game in "Bubbleville." After a close loss to then-No. 3 Villanova and a solid win over Rhode Island, the Eagles were outgunned 97-93 against St. John's on Monday.
Lost in the result was the continuation of an inspirational comeback by Wynston Tabbs, who led Boston College with 23 points. It was just his third game since Jan. 20, 2019, when he sustained a season-ending knee injury that also kept him out of the lineup last season.
Tabbs is averaging 16.7 points for the Eagles, which could have one of the top guard corps in the Atlantic Coast Conference but might be a bit short on depth and size in the post.
"Wynston's inspired all of us," teammate Steffon Mitchell said. "He's been through so much. Watching him push through the mental and physical blocks has been great."
--Field Level Media