Xavier coach Sean Miller sees familiarities with the team’s last opponent when he scans the scouting report for Thursday’s matchup with Florida in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament at Portland, Ore.
After giving up 30 points and six rebounds to Trayce Jackson-Davis in an 81-79 loss to Indiana, the Musketeers (3-1) now must contend with Florida’s Colin Castleton. A power up front like Jackson-Davis, Castleton is averaging 25.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game for the Gators (3-1).
“They do a great job of playing through him,” Miller said. “He seems to be involved in almost every offensive possession, maybe a little bit more away from the basket skill-wise than a guy like Jackson-Davis but make no mistake. If you can average 25 points a game through the first three or four games, that’s all you need to know.”
Castleton was a big force behind Florida’s 76-67 comeback win at Florida State in the Gators’ last outing, scoring right at his average of 25 points and just missing a double-double with nine rebounds. He accounted for 13 points as the Gators scored 33 of the first 38 points in the second half while rallying from a 17-point halftime deficit.
“That’s the luxury of having such a such a great player,” first-year Florida coach Todd Golden said. “He might not get enough touches in the first half, but he stays with it and then he delivers.”
The Gators also put full-court pressure on the Seminoles to spark the second-half comeback, but don’t expect a repeat of that against Xavier.
“We’re not a big full-court pressure team,” Golden said. “I’ve never been a full-court pressure coach, but certain games call for certain things.”
Xavier should have a healthier Colby Jones available as a ball-handler against any pressure. Jones missed one game with a sprained ankle but played 36 minutes against Indiana, scoring 13 points and handing out six assists against only two turnovers.
“We’re probably out of the worst part of it,” Miller said of Jones’ recovery.
Florida and Xavier are in a bracket with Duke and Oregon State, with Purdue, West Virginia, Portland State, and Gonzaga filling out the PKI field.
–Field Level Media