Warriors

Rick Barry's son Canyon breaks Florida record for made free throws in a row

Rick Barry's son Canyon breaks Florida record for made free throws in a row

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No. 17 Florida is glad to be done with early starts.

Even though coach Mike White switched up the team's routine Saturday and let players sleep in, the Gators turned in another sluggish performance.

Justin Leon scored 18 points, Canyon Barry added 12 and Florida overcame a lackluster start to beat Texas A&M 71-62.

John Egbunu notched his first double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds and then getting the game ball from White, as the Gators (20-5, 10-2 Southeastern Conference) won their sixth consecutive game. After winning each of the last five by double digits, this one was considerably closer than most expected.

"Brain dead is (being) kind," White said. "We'll take it. You learn from every game, positively and negatively. When you learn some of the things about yourself that you didn't do so well and you can still come out with a win against a really good team, that's a positive in and of itself. We were very fortunate."

The Aggies (13-11, 5-7) led 42-41 midway through the second half and looked like they might get their first win in five tries against a ranked team this season. But Florida used a 24-10 run to take the lead and pull away. It started and ended with 3-pointers by Leon, who finished one point shy of tying his career high.

The senior made 7 of 15 shots, including four from behind the arc.

"Huge," White said. "This was the second or third one that if Justin doesn't sprint into a couple of 3s, we probably don't do enough offensively. ... He's turned himself into a shooter."

Barry provided a spark off the bench against Texas A&M's constantly changing defense and made all four of his under-handed free throws to break a school record. He has made 39 in a row, topping the former mark (37) set by Taurean Green during the 2005-06 season.

"Trying to keep it rolling, trying to get to 90 percent," Barry said. "I think I'm close now hopefully, but just step to the line, have confidence every time. It doesn't really mean much. I just care about winning, getting these guys ready for the next game."

Chris Chiozza was the fourth Florida player in double figures, finishing with 11 points.

Robert Williams led the Aggies with 18 points and 12 rebounds, the freshman's seventh double-double of the season.

Texas A&M's undoing was 20 turnovers. It surely didn't help that the Aggies made 4 of 18 from 3-point range and finished with just nine assists.

"You can't turn it over 20 times, miss layups around the basket and win," Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said.

BIG PICTURE

Texas A&M: The Aggies have a talented frontcourt and really took it to the Gators inside, finishing with 30 points in the paint. But they have less depth in the backcourt, and it showed.

Florida: The Gators played their third early start in the last five Saturdays and struggled again. Florida needed overtime to beat Georgia on Jan. 14 and lost to Vanderbilt on Jan. 21. The Gators led by 11 early against the Aggies, looking like they had solved their early start issues, but went into a lethargic stretch that allowed Texas A&M back in it. White tried a lighter practice Thursday and no early morning shootaround on game day. It didn't really work.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M plays at Vanderbilt on Thursday.

Florida plays at Auburn on Tuesday, looking for a seventh straight win that would be the longest in White's two seasons.

Draymond Green exits season-opener vs Rockets with left knee strain

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USATSI

Draymond Green exits season-opener vs Rockets with left knee strain

Towards the end of the third quarter Tuesday night, Draymond Green drove to the basket and got fouled. But he came down awkwardly and appeared to injure his left knee.

After hobbling to the free throw line and making two shots, he played out the final few seconds of the quarter. He then went to the locker room.

After examination, the Warriors diagnosed Green with a left knee strain and ruled him out for the rest of the game.

In three quarter, Green almost posted a triple-double, finishing with nine points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists.

Warriors will feel Iguodala's absence Tuesday vs Rockets, perhaps beyond

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AP

Warriors will feel Iguodala's absence Tuesday vs Rockets, perhaps beyond

OAKLAND -- We don’t know how severe Andre Iguodala’s back strain is, only that it is serious enough to force the veteran forward to the sideline for the season opener.

For a game he definitely wanted to play.

“It doesn’t make sense to play him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday, two hours before tipoff of the opening-night game against the Houston Rockets.

Iguodala’s absence will hurt the Warriors not only against the Rockets but also anybody else, for as long as he is unable to take the floor. Back problems have a way of choosing when they go away. Until then, Iguodala is at its mercy.

Losing Iguodala for this game means, first and foremost, that Klay Thompson will be mostly alone in chasing James Harden. It’s an important defensive assignment typically shared by Thompson and Iguodala.

Furthermore, the Rockets’ fast-paced offense is designed to generate constant pressure. They led the NBA last season in 3-point shots, made and attempted, and they stretch the floor as well as any team in the league, including the Warriors.

Iguodala’s intellect, defensive instincts and superior anticipation are most valuable against such teams as Houston. Draymond Green and Iguodala can wrecking offenses as well as any two players in the league, their quick hands causing havoc that is one of the keys to the Warriors playing championship-level defense.

“Andre is as smart a defensive player as I’ve ever seen,” Kerr said. “Draymond is incredibly smart, too. Scottie Pippen (Kerr’s former teammate with the Bulls) was so brilliant. Andre reminds me a lot of Scottie in terms of quarterbacking the defense and disrupting plays before they happen, anticipating where people are going to be, where the ball is going to be.

“So Andre is critical to our defense. “

For at least one night, and maybe more, Green will have to turn to another sidekick when Kerr unleashes the “Death Lineup” without Iguodala.

Shaun Livingston and Nick Young can deliver some of what Iguodala provides on offense.

Thompson can compensate for some of the lost offense, but he’ll have his hands full with Harden. Though Kerr said Pat McCaw would fill some of the minutes lost with Iguodala, the coach can’t reasonably expect McCaw to physically cope with Harden, a crafty veteran who also is 40 pounds heavier.

So let’s see what happens when the Rockets come down the floor with three or four players, all capable of launching from deep, scattering to get to their spots.

“It’ll be a challenge for us to play without (Iguodala) tonight against one of the best offensive teams in the league,” Kerr said.

The coach believes Iguodala will be ready for the next game, Friday in New Orleans. The Warriors, for the sake of their defense, can only hope so.