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Rolling Florida hosts Quinnipiac, readies for SEC schedule


After rattling off five straight wins before the Christmas break, Florida will get one final tune-up ahead of Southeastern Conference play when it faces Quinnipiac on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville, Fla.

The Gators (9-3) have been rolling, most recently beating Grambling State 96-57 on Dec. 22 behind a balanced attack that featured five scorers in double figures.

Will Richard led the way with 17 points, while Tyrese Samuel recorded a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double. Florida moved the ball around with ease, racking up a season-high 27 assists.

Denzel Aberdeen paired five of those assists with 11 points while playing a career-high 24 minutes. He took on a bigger workload in the absence of fellow sophomore guard Riley Kugel, who was out with a foot bruise.

Kugel could be coming off the bench on Saturday, potentially giving Aberdeen another chance to showcase his talents.

“My teammates and coaches always say be ready when your name is called, no matter how many minutes you get or what your position is,” Aberdeen said. “Riley being out gave me a chance to show what I can do. My teammates put me in the right positions to score.”

Meanwhile, the Bobcats (9-3) are nearly just as hot, prevailing in four of their past five games.

Quinnipiac topped Lafayette 78-60 on Dec. 21, getting 22 points from Matt Balanc. Amarri Tice added 21 points and 15 boards to notch his second straight double-double.

“(Amarri) can impact the game on so many levels,” Bobcats coach Tom Pecora told Quinnipiac’s student media outlet. “He can knock down the threes, drive to the basket; he had some big-time rebounds in traffic and I think that’s really how we wore them down in the second half.”

Balanc averages a team-high 18.7 points per game, while Tice averages 11.3 along with a team-best 6.8 rebounds.

The Gators have five players averaging at least 10.9 points per game, with Walter Clayton Jr. (15.4 points per game) and Samuel (14.6) leading the way.

Saturday marks the first meeting between the teams.

–Field Level Media

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