Gators put win streak on the line against Aggies

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Updated: 2/01 9:13 am

Gainesville, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The third-ranked Florida Gators open up a three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon, as they welcome the Texas A&M Aggies to the O'Connell Center for an SEC affair.

Billy Donovan's Gators are one of the hottest teams in the country, bringing a 12-game win streak into this contest. Florida hasn't lost since Dec. 2 at Connecticut (65-64) and moved to a flawless 7-0 in the SEC with Thursday's 62-51 win at Mississippi State.

Billy Kennedy's Aggies are struggling presently, bringing a four-game losing streak into Gainesville. Texas A&M was routed by South Carolina on Wednesday (80-52), falling to 3-4 in league play.

This is just the fifth all-time meeting between these two teams. Florida has won three of the four previous matchups.

Offense has not been easy to come by for Texas A&M this season and the team may have hit rock-bottom, getting routed by a South Carolina team that had not won a conference game up until that point. USC went on an 8-0 run to start the game and never looked back in posting a 28-point romp over the Aggies. Not a single player managed double digits in the loss, with Shawn Smith and Jamal Jones tied for team-high honors with nine points each. A&M shot a dismal .356 from the floor in the game and compounded the problem with 18 turnovers.

Scoring points has been a real problem for A&M this season, as the team is generating just 66.8 ppg on a modest .438 shooting. Jones is the only player on the roster currently averaging double figures, and that is just at 11.7 ppg. Kourtney Robinson is just under the mark at 9.7 ppg and leads the team in rebounding at 7.0 rpg. Defense has been the team's strength out of necessity, with Texas A&M yielding just 63.0 ppg.

The Aggies have been good at the defensive end, but the Gators have been downright nasty. Florida ranks among the nation's elite in terms of scoring defense (58.5 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.390) this season, while also enjoying a healthy +5.0 rebounding margin. At the other end, UF is managing a decent 71.3 ppg, but gets that from various sources, as five players are averaging double figures, led by forward Casey Prather's 16.7 ppg. Guards Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier are next in line, with 12.2 ppg apiece. Center Patric Young and forward Dorian Finney-Smith round out the scoring depth with 10.7 and 10.3 ppg, respectively.

The Gators used a 56-percent shooting performance in the second half to turn a one-point halftime lead into an 11-point win in Starkville and remain unbeaten in league play. Prather paced Florida in the scoring column with 16 points. Young added 12, while Wilbekin checked in with eight points and eight assists in the win.

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