By: Charles Kane (Twitter: @ckane02)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M could not overcome ice-cold shooting halfway through as a banged up Mike Rosario stepped up early to give No. 10 Florida a dominating 68-47 victory.
The Aggies forced the Gators to play at their own pace early on and kept the score close. Mike Rosario began an early 8-0 charge as Florida pulled away initially. He scored 11 of the Gators’ first 13 points shooting 4-5 from the field as the rest of the team shot 1-6. Rosario finished with a game high 19 points. He has scored 19 points in back-to-back games after missing the previous contest to LSU due to a sprained left ankle.
The game was relatively close until a cold front hit the Aggies shooting to end the first half and carried on through the beginning of the second half. During that stretch they missed 15 straight field goal attempts and did not make their first bucket in the second half until the 16:15 mark.
“Texas A&M hasn’t scored since they were in the Big-12,” said ESPN2 commentator Mike Rece during the cold stretch for the Aggies.
Texas A&M was coming off a four game winning streak and a convincing victory against Kentucky as they put up 83 points versus the Wildcats. At one point Thursday they scored just 20 points in 24 minutes. This was the eighth time the Gators held an opponent to under 50 points.
One reason for the Aggies recent success has been leading scorer Elston Turner. He put up 40 points against Kentucky and was averaging 17.1 points per game coming into Thursday’s game. The Gators defense played him well as he shot just 1-10 from the field and was limited to a season low four points. This was the first time that Turner had not scored at least 10 points all season.
The Gators starters stepped up in this game and logged plenty of minutes in the meantime. Patric Young was the only starter who tallied less than 18 minutes in the first half. Young became more aggressive in the second half and finished with 18 points on 7-9 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. He has now shot above 50 percent in every single game this season. Erik Murphy also had a solid night shooting 6-10 from the floor for 16 points while snatching 7 rebounds as well.
The Gators’ bench scored just four points and Casey Prather remained sidelined due to an ankle sprain. Will Yeguete played limited minutes tonight because he is still dealing with tendonitis in his right knee.
The Gators have won three consecutive SEC games and five straight overall as they improved to 13-2 for the season. Florida’s next game is Saturday in Gainesville against No. 17 Missouri (13-3) at 2:00 p.m on ESPN.
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