Charles Kane (Twitter: @ckane02)
Florida guard Mike Rosario led the Gators to the NCAA tournament round of 16 for the third consecutive year with a career-high 25 points.
Just two days after playing a season-low 15 minutes Rosario started scorching hot in the first half. At one point he was tied with Minnesota at 15 points apiece. Rosario’s 15 minutes Friday night were eight less than his previous season-low of 23. Sunday night he finished with 34 minutes, 25 points, six three-pointers and two steals.
No. 3 seed Florida beat No. 11 seed Minnesota 78-64 as the Gophers failed to overcome a 21-point deficit at halftime. The Gators did not make it easy on themselves.
Erik Murphy scored 15 points in the first half on 5-7 shooting. He did not attempt a field goal in the second half as he dealt with foul trouble throughout. Sunday night marked the third time Murphy had fouled out this season.
Murphy, Patric Young, Kenny Boynton and Casey Prather combined for just five second half points. Young did not score a field goal in a game for the first time in almost two years. The last time that happened was against Butler in the Elite Eight game on March 26, 2011.
Minnesota turned a 13-2 run into a 19-5 run and brought Florida’s lead to single digits. This came in large part to sophomore guard Andre Hollins. He began the game shooting 7-8 before making just one of his next five. Hollins tied a career-high with six three-pointer. At the 9:21 mark he picked up his fourth foul and the game settled down from there. From the 9:45 mark to the 2:57 mark in the second half Minnesota did not make a field goal.
Despite scoring just three field goals and turning the ball over five times in the opening eight minutes of the second half the Gators managed to pull away once again.
Scottie Wilbekin finished with 12 points (10 in the second half) and six assists. Yeguete scored seven points, all in the second half.
All of Florida’s 28 wins this season have been by double digits. The Gators are now 20-0 when scoring 70 points or more this season.
Florida’s next game is Friday night at 9:57 p.m. against No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast.
By Charles Kane (Twitter: @ckane02)
With 14:30 left in the second half,
The No.11 Florida Gators (24-5, 14-3) hosted their senior night Wednesday and with a win they would not only have an undefeated home record but would also clinch the Southeastern Conference title outright.
The Vanderbilt Commodores (13-16, 7-10) were within seven of
The Gators' defense played just as efficient as they grabbed two steals and forced the Commodores to shoot just 4-17 from the field.
The 32-14 run lasted from the 14:30 mark until there was 2:18 remaining. Donovan took out the regulars including the seniors who played their last game in the O'Connell Center.
Kenny Boynton led the way for
Patric Young had an efficient game with 14 points on 6-7 shooting, four rebounds and three blocks. He also added another highlight slam dunk off of a
By: Charles Kane (Twitter: @ckane02)
Florida (22-4) shot 16-30 (53%) and outscored the Razorbacks 39-26 in the second half. Patric Young scored 14 points on 7-10 shooting whilst grabbing seven rebounds. He capped off a 7-0 run by the Gators to open the game with an emphatic slam dunk off a Kenny Boynton miss. The fourth straight sellout crowd for Florida exploded and it seemed things could be ugly for Arkansas early on. Arkansas (17-10) matched with a 5-0 run of its own and eventually tied the game at eight with Marshawn Powell scoring seven straight points. Powell was the SEC’s reining player of the week. After scoring seven points in the game’s first six minutes Powell scored zero points in the remaining 34. He had two fouls with 10:45 left in the first half and had four fouls at the 17:23 mark in the second half. The Razorbacks did not have a single basket in the paint until 6:14 in the first half. Still, Florida only had a four point lead at halftime which was the closest home margin of the season.
The Gators forced nine first half turnovers after forcing just eight in the entire game the last time these two teams met. In that game the Razorbacks upset Florida and shot 7-9 to start the game from beyond the arc. Saturday they began shooting 2-9 from three-point range. Florida started quickly in the second half on an 11-1 run. Arkansas was 1-7 in its first eight second half possessions. Florida finished with 42 points in the paint compared to Arkansas’s 18.
Rosario posted a double-digit point total for the eighth straight game shooting 47-90 (52%) across those games. He is posting a career best in field goal percentage (46%), three-point percentage (36%) and free throw percentage (85%). Erik Murphy and Kenny Boynton each added a pair of threes and 12 points on the night. Murphy has made at least two 3-pointers in 16 of his last 17 games (41-81, 51%). Florida lost Michael Frazier in the second half due to a concussion. Billy Donovan has stated that Florida might have Frazier and Will Yeguete both back by the March 2 game against Alabama.
Arkansas’s leading scorer (third in SEC), B.J. Young (15.7 ppg.), had zero field goals in the game and zero points in the second half finishing with just three points (three free throws). His three points were his second lowest career point total. His lowest was his first game ever as a Razorback. Coty Clarke, on the other hand, did not miss a field goal in the entire game shooting 8-8 and scoring 18 points which were his second highest career point total. His highest was his first game ever as a Razorback. It is odd how opposite those two stats between those two players were tonight.
Saturday’s win was Florida’s 13th straight at home. The Gators’ next game is at Tennessee (16-10) at 7:00 p.m. Feb. 26.
By Charles Kane (Twitter: @ckane02)
The Tigers won their 15th straight game at home and remained undefeated in defeating No. 5 Florida 63-60 Tuesday night.
Missouri (19-7) ended the game on a 27-11 run. The Tigers never led by more than three points the entire game. Their first lead in the entire series (77 minutes total) did not come until Phil Pressey made a transition basket getting fouled in the process at the 2:51 mark in the second half.
Pressey finished the game with seven points, 10 assists and six boards. He also turned it over half as many times as he did a month ago in the O’Connell Center (10). Laurence Bowers who missed January’s game against the Gators due to an MCL sprain finished with game-highs in both points with 17 and rebounds with 10. He also had the go-ahead, uncontested jumper with 1:15 to play in the second half. Missouri’s Frank Haith is now 30-1 at home.
Besides Florida’s hot stretch of shooting 5-7 (71%) from beyond the arc early in the second half, they shot 5-26 (19%). The Gators also missed their last eight shots of the first half. Closing games has been quite the issue for Florida this season. The Gators are now 0-4 in games decided by 11 points or fewer compared to 21-0 in all other games. When Florida wins they win comfortably but the 3-pointers have not been falling when they have to. Kenny Boynton missed three important 3-pointers in the final three minutes of the ballgame. He finished with 11 points on 4-13 shooting and 2-9 from beyond the arc.
Patric Young scored two points for his second consecutive game shooting 2-7 in both games combined. Young had a stretch of 26 consecutive games of shooting 50% or better from early March 2012 to February 2013. He has shot less than 50% in three of his last four games since.
Florida’s (21-4) next game is Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Arkansas.
By: Charles Kane (@ckane02)
No. 7 Florida has its 15th straight 20-win season after defeating No. 25 Kentucky 69-52 Tuesday night in Gainesville.
Florida (20-3) has won all 15 of the 20-win seasons under Billy Donovan. Before Donovan’s arrival the Gators had just five 20-win seasons in 77 years.
Kentucky (17-7) not only lost the game but also lost its prominent player in Nerlens Noel. After aggressively blocking a shot out-of-bounds he landed awkwardly on his knee and immediately began screaming in pain as he fell to the floor. Noel was limited to the second-lowest minute total all year (23) and a season-low six rebounds before leaving late in the second half. He did put up a respectable three blocks before his departure. X-Rays were negative on his knee.
Patric Young had an efficient night posting a double-double with 12 points on 5-7 shooting, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Scottie Wilbekin put up a game-high 14 points and eight assists. Casey Prather was proficient once again coming off the bench with 12 points on 6-8 shooting and added two blocks. Florida as a team put up one of its best blocking efforts for the season with nine in total. Kenny Boynton made his 128th career start which ties him with Andrew DeClercq (1992-95) for most in school history.
Florida’s defense for the past three games was very different from the first 20. The Gators gave up 53.1 points per game in the first 20 games and 67.3 in the last three. Florida played better defense Tuesday limiting the Wildcats to just 52 points on 21-50 shooting (42%). The Gators also forced a season-tying 11 turnovers for the Wildcats in the first half. Kentucky had 11 turnovers and 10 field goals at halftime.
The Gators snapped Kentucky’s five-game winning streak. Florida is now 12-0 at home, winning each of those games by double-digits. The Gators have beaten a total of five BPI top-40 teams by an average of 22.6 points. Florida now leads Kentucky by two games in the Southeastern Conference standings. The Gators’ next game is Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m. at Auburn (9-14).