GAINESVILLE — If Florida coach Billy Donovan was trying to send Chandler Parsons a message, it's safe to say it's working.
The sophomore started the first four games this season but was stuck in a shooting slump, going 0-for-7 from 3-point range.
Now Parsons has come off the bench and tallied double-digit points in back-to-back games, including 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting in 28 minutes as Florida bested Florida A&M 73-58 Tuesday night.
The No. 23 Gators (6-1) improved to 18-0 all time against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
While the Casselberry native admits he would rather start, Parsons said coming off the bench can help in scouting out the game's tempo and his potential matchup.
"If it takes for me to come off the bench, if it takes for me to start, it doesn't really matter as long as I'm contributing any way I can," he said. "I'm not lying when I tell you I'll do whatever it takes for our team to win."
Former high school teammate Nick Calathes added, "Anywhere Coach puts him, he'll play. He plays a lot of minutes for us. He's a big key to our team."
But a lax second-half defensive effort left Donovan disappointed. The Rattlers (1-6) made 11 3-pointers for the game, the most since South Carolina (12) on Feb. 20, and converted 61.5 percent (8-of-13) in the second half.
"I believe in trying to take the 3 totally away," Donovan said. "You're never going to prevent a team from ever taking a 3-point shot, but you want to be able to take it away."
Florida held a 15-point halftime lead, but FAMU cut it to seven with 15:55 left. The Gators responded with a 12-2 run to push the lead to 17 and were never seriously threatened again.
But the Rattlers' 3-point barrage left a bad taste.
"It's just disappointing. The No. 1 goal was the 3-point line," Parsons said. "If we want to be one of the best teams in the country, and we want to compete in the NCAA Tournament, we gotta play defense, and we're not doing that right now."