Two wins in a row is nothing for Florida to celebrate.
"We have no peps in our steps. At all," Mike White said.
The Auburn Tigers come to town Saturday night fresh off two straight Southeastern Conference wins of their own — first over Kentucky and then over Alabama, both at home. Florida and Auburn will tip off at 8 p.m. in the O’Connell Center, where the Gators have won their last 10 meetings with the Tigers.
Auburn (9-8, 3-3 SEC) boasts a barrage of talented weapons led by junior guard Kareem Canty. The Harlem, New York, product leads the Tigers with 19.4 points per game, tied for third-best in the SEC and has scored a combined 51 points over his last two outings. Senior forward Cinmeon Bowers is coming off a 20-point, 18-rebound performance against the Crimson Tide and is tied for third in the conference in rebounds per game with 9.4.
As a team, Auburn averages 9.8 made three-point field goals per game, the most in the SEC. Florida checks in at seventh in the conference in the same category with 6.9 triples per game.
However, the Gators (12-6, 4-2 SEC) have held their own this season against teams similar to Auburn — a team with a powerful offense led by one primary scoring weapon.
Florida forced Ben Simmons to turn the ball over eight times and foul out of the game in the Gators’ 68-62 win over LSU. Stefan Moody, the leading scorer in the SEC, was held to 3-of-10 from beyond the arc and had six turnovers in Florida’s 80-71 win over Ole Miss.
This time, the challenge will be Canty.
"I think Canty probably shoots it even better (than Moody). He can create it for himself even better," White said.
"Different type athletes, but they’re both guys that demand the brunt of the scouting report for sure."
Junior forward Justin Leon, who was praised for his defensive work against Simmons, said he thinks the team’s experience dealing with those specific offensive weapons has prepared them well and will help when it comes to guarding Canty.
"It helps because guarding high-level guys like that, you get the experience of seeing how it is," Leon said.
"Then if you do a good job on them, it builds your confidence and makes you feel like you can guard a lot of guys … I mean I don’t think about it. I just look at it as playing basketball, guarding somebody."
Florida will have to limit Canty if it hopes to keep up with Auburn.
White knows the Gators didn’t play their best basketball on Tuesday night in their win over Mississippi State and said there wasn’t much to celebrate besides the end result.
He’s looking for improvement on Saturday night against a much tougher offensive opponent.
"We’ll expect a team coming in here playing with a lot of confidence. Heck, they have a bigger win than any of our wins this season with the win against Kentucky," White said.
"They’re shooting the ball well. We’ll have to play with edge. We’ll have to be excited about it. We’ve got to find a way to get better against Auburn."