By: Charles Kane (Twitter: @ckane02)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The 11th ranked Florida Gators got off to a blistering start in their SEC opener against Georgia and never looked back thrashing the Bulldogs 77-44.
Florida guard, Mike Rosario, led all scorers with 19 points on 6/10 shooting and 3/6 from beyond the arc. Patric Young was plenty efficient tonight as he made all five of his shot attempts and finished with 11 points. That point total was tied for second with Erik Murphy who played in limited action tonight after not playing against Yale the game prior due to a cracked rib. He swished his first two 3-point attempts tonight and Billy Donovan eventually rested him as the Gators lead became larger and the game grew out of hand.
Casey Prather started over Murphy and Will Yeguete (injured knee). Prather shot 5/7 from the field and grabbed 7 rebounds, four of them offensive, and finished with 10 points. Florida scored the first 11 points of the ballgame with Prather scoring the first six, making all of his first three shot attempts.
An understatement would be to say the Bulldogs underperformed tonight. They did not make their first basket until there was 14:24 remaining in the first half. Georgia also did not score a 3-point bucket the entire first half and only shot 1/10 on the night from beyond the arc. They finished the first half with 11 turnovers and zero offensive rebounds. Georgia’s leading scorer, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who averaged 17.5 points per game (fourth in the SEC) coming into tonight, was held without a basket until there were eight minutes left in the first half. He finished with a sub-par 11 points on the night and just three rebounds which are four shy of his season average.
Florida, on the other hand, started hot and only got hotter. They scored 44 points in the second half which was more than Georgia scored the entire game. Billy Donovan stuck with a four guard set for most of the game which led to open 3-point shots and plenty of transition buckets. It is incredibly rare when a team wins every statistical offensive and defensive category but that it just what the Florida Gators did tonight.
Although starting point guard, Kenny Boynton, was not used as much tonight as usual due to a cold night shooting compared to red hot Rosario he still managed to add some records to his time as a Florida Gator. Boynton is now in the top ten in all-time field goals made in Gators history. He also passed Ronnie Williams for fifth most minutes played in school history. In addition, he is now ranked fourth on the all-time list in starts as a Gator at 118.
Georgia only scored two points off of Florida’s seven turnovers. Florida, comparatively, scored 27 points off of Georgia’s 19 turnovers. This is the seventh opponent that the Gators have held under 50 points. Florida has now won 12 straight times in Gainesville against the Bulldogs. They have also won 16 of their last 19 meetings. These two teams have played the most games (206) against one another than any other two in SEC history. Coming into the game Florida led the SEC in field-goal percentage defense at 36.8 and 52.7 points allowed per game. Tonight Georgia shot just 39% and scored an inadequate 44 points to Florida’s 77.
The 11-2 Gators now have some momentum to work with as they take on the 9-2 LSU Tigers Saturday, Jan. 12.
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