GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Between turnovers and missed free throws, Florida coach Billy Donovan feels as though his team is wasting scoring opportunities.
The Gators were able to overcome the errors against Radford. They probably won't be so fortunate in the Southeastern Conference.
The Gators bounced back from a numbing home loss to Jacksonville, but probably did little to avoid falling out of the rankings for the second time this season.
"It's definitely frustrating and we're not going to win at the level we want to win at scoring 40, 50, 60 points," Chandler Parsons said. "We've just got to keep shooting the ball with confidence and just keep trying to get the best shot. Obviously we have guys that can score. We've just got to start making some shots."
Parsons finished with nine points, eight rebounds and five assists for Florida (9-3), which opened the season ranked ninth but dropped steadily after close wins over Morehead State, Florida Atlantic and Florida State. The Gators fell out of the AP poll following a three-point loss to Central Florida earlier this month.
Florida regained its ranking after upsetting then-No. 6 Kansas State last weekend, but followed that with the lackluster loss to Jacksonville on Monday. Afterward, Donovan questioned his team's ability to handle success.
Now, he's challenging them to avoid mistakes and score in the 70s. The Gators have averaged 61.7 points the last seven games.
"We need the ability to score to create a level of cushion for our team," Donovan said.
Turnovers have been the main culprit. Florida had 16 against the Highlanders (2-9) after posting 35 the previous two games.
"The turnovers are a major problem," Donovan said. "It's a major, major problem, and it's not getting corrected and it's not getting fixed. I think they're conscientious of it. I'm not sure how good of a passing and feel team we are."
Donovan benched Walker after an ill-advised alley-oop pass in the second half, and did the same a few minutes later with Will Yeguete following a behind-the-back pass in the lane.
Aside from the turnovers and 10 missed free throws, Florida had little trouble with Radford, which ranks 328th in the nation in scoring and has lost nine in a row.
The Gators scored the first nine points of the game, opened up a double-digit lead early in the second half and then started to pull away late.
Donovan pulled his starters in the closing minutes, with his team ahead by 18, but had to put them back in when the Highlanders used an 11-3 run to slice into the lead.
"We played hard," Radford coach Brad Greenberg said. "We played a pretty good defensive game. Our zone was active. We turned the ball over too often and they were very aggressive and very successful in getting offensive rebounds. Those two areas really hurt us."
Radford shot 50 percent from the field but couldn't overcome 24 turnovers.
The game probably would have been much closer without Walker's performance. He was 6 of 9 shooting from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
"That was obviously big for us with the way he shot the ball," Donovan said.
The rest of the team was a combined 4 of 18 from behind the arc. That kind of shooting performance might not matter against Radford, but it could haunt the Gators the rest of the way -- especially if they don't reduce the turnovers and make more free throws.
"We need to collectively try to be careful with the ball, treat it like it's gold and protect it," Walker said.