After opening the season with a pair of blowout losses, Alabama State coach Lewis Jackson hopes his players will learn what it takes to tangle with the best teams in the NCAA.
The Hornets fell 84-35 to No. 10 Florida on Sunday in a game that was lopsided from the opening minutes.
The Gators were up 47-9 at halftime in their delayed opener and led by as many as 57 points.
The lopsided defeat came just two days after Alabama State lost 97-53 at Middle Tennessee. The Hornets (0-2) go to Central Florida on Tuesday before returning home.
"We schedule a tough non-conference preseason schedule so we can see where we are and if we can compete at a high level," Jackson said. "It gives the guys a chance to play at a place like Florida and play the teams they see on television."
"Hopefully when we get back, they'll know how hard they have to compete so they can come to practice every day with a new attitude," he said.
The Gators (1-0) overmatched Alabama State at both ends of the court. The Hornets missed 19 of their first 20 shots and finished the game just 10 of 53.
Their nine points at halftime were the fewest Florida has allowed in the first half since the implementation of the shot clock.
"We couldn't throw it in the ocean because they were so much bigger and stronger than we were," Jackson said. "We just struggled trying to get into our offense."
Bobby Brown, a backup guard, led Alabama State with 14 points, all in the second half, on 5 of 14 shooting. Joshua Freelove added 12 points, and no other Hornets player scored more than two.
Kenny Boynton scored 22 points for Florida. The Gators were supposed to begin the season Friday against Georgetown aboard the USS Bataan, but the game was canceled at halftime because there was moisture on the court.
Boynton shot 8 of 10 and made all four of his 3-point tries. He also had six rebounds and five assists.
Patric Young had 12 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots for the Gators. Erik Murphy added 15 points and Mike Rosario had 14.
Florida took an 8-0 lead and was ahead by 32 points with 6:24 left in the first half.
The Gators played without junior Scottie Wilbekin, who was expected to be the starting point guard this season but is indefinitely suspended because of an undisclosed disciplinary issue. Forward Casey Prather, another potential starter, was out with a concussion.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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