Fastbreak: No. 3 Florida beats Mississippi State

The No. 3 Florida Gators (18-2, 7-0 SEC) crawled its way to a victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs (13-7, 3-4 SEC) on Thursday evening, picking up a 62-51 win at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, MS.

Florida won its 12th-straight game and picked up a victory for the 17th time in their last 18 contests. OnlyGators.com breaks it down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: Leading by single digits with less than three minutes to play, the Gators boosted their lead to double digits off a three-pointer by sophomore guard Michael Frazier II, his third-straight make from downtown. Frazier missed his first six three-pointers on Thursday but finished with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting from deep.

Prominent player: Florida senior center Patric Young was not the leading scorer but found the bottom of the net when it mattered the most for the Gators, especially at the start of the second half. Young finished with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting with game-highs of eight rebounds and three blocks despite only playing seven first-half minutes.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.

Significant stretch: Trading leads with its hosts over the first few minutes of the second half, Florida used a 14-2 run that spanned just under six minutes to take a game-high 13-point lead. The Gators never fell behind again, holding on to their advantage all the way through the final buzzer.

First half focus: Trailing through the first 10 minutes, Florida used a 12-2 run to jump ahead by nine points but was unable to sustain the lead. The Gators failed to connect on a field goal (0-for-7) in the final 6:03 of the opening half and got outscored 8-0 by the Bulldogs over the final 3:28. UF took just a one-point lead into the break.

Perfect play: Frustrated with his play and attempting to put back a missed shot early in the second half, Young took a page of out The Incredible Hulk’s book by grabbing his own miss and gathering himself before exploding for a powerful dunk that shook the hoop – and sent his teammates off the bench – in The Hump.

Standout stats: Florida shot poorly from beyond the arc but was even worse at the charity stripe. The Gators finished 6-of-20 from downtown and 8-for-19 from the free throw line with senior forward Casey Prather hitting just 2-of-7 freebies. Prather grabbed seven boards to go along with a team-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

What it means: The Gators did not put together their best performance on Thursday but were still the far superior team. Head coach Billy Donovan will likely use the game as motivation to show UF what can happen if it does not come out ready to play.

Next up: Florida must turn around quickly to prepare for its next game, which tips off just 43 hours after Thursday’s contest came to a conclusion. Texas A&M visits Gainesville, FL on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The game will air live on SEC Network affiliates.

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10 Responses to “Fastbreak: No. 3 Florida beats Mississippi State”

  1. Joshua says:

    Not the prettiest game but you have to be impressed with their poise on the road. The Gators didn’t play anywhere close to their best game but stepped up when they had to and made the plays they had to make, when they needed to make them. I liked how Pat Young and Casey Prather finished around the rim! I’m looking forward to Walker playing next week.

    Go Gators!

  2. W says:

    The only thing I think is missing, and I think this is an element few teams have not just on a year-to-year basis but even over the course of a few years, is the elusive killer instinct in road games. I can only think of a handful of teams in the last few years that would play a conference road game or tougher OOC road game, take a lead, and then step on their opponent’s throat and not let up.

    This team has shown flashes of this, and it’s pretty obvious to see that the potential is there. You know it’s there because we have no problem showing it at the O’Dome- what we did to UT last Saturday was a great example. But this deal of going up 11, letting the other team back to within 6, then getting back up to 11 is very frustrating, especially knowing that an 11 point lead could easily balloon to 20 in short order.

    Basically, it’s free throw shooting (which is largely random anyways), making good decisions in the half court, and playing disciplined and without fouling on defense. I think once this team goes on the road and beats a team nice and good, I will have full faith that this is a Final Four team. When better to do it than in a few days when we have UT and UK on the road in consecutive games?

    • Michael Jones says:

      I disagree that this team lacks killer instinct. It has way more heart than the last 3 talented but not as tough editions. This team has already won at least 5 games (Kansas, Memphis, Arkansas, Auburn, and Alabama come to mind) that those teams would have folded in down the stretch.

      This team is somewhere between those teams and the teams that went back-to-back. . and with an opportunity to get better over the next month and a half. Could get very interesting.

      I do agree that the free throw situation is a problem. Inexcusable at this level, really. Just like Bobby Knight said (and I hope our guys record the game and listen to his invaluable comments): 100 free throws a day will cure that.

      Also think that our defensive intensity could be more consistent. We take too many possessions off.

      But I LOVE this team. . a lot of heart, a lot of toughness that’s been missing over the last few years. Can’t wait to see what Chris Walker brings to the table.

      And speaking of Walkers, watch out for Devon. That kid has the talent to explode one day and then watch out.

  3. Carrie says:

    Patric young is a beast! Not the prettiest win but a good one!

  4. Michael Jones says:

    Scottie continues to dribble around meaninglessly instead of quickly hitting the open man. Gives the defender covering the guy time to recover and get back on him when the ball should have been delivered 2 seconds ago. Continues to go crashing in 1-on-2 or 1-on-3 on drives when he should be dishing to an open man. Has also taken to making that goofy meaningless cross-over-dribble fake jab step that Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton used to love to do. Adds nothing to the offense, kills any flow or rhythm, and eats up shot clock. Doesn’t seem to understand the pick and roll. . inexplicably pulls it back out when he has an advantage or when he’s drawn the other defender and could dish to the picker trailing. Also needs to stop hovering in one place around the 3 point line without the ball staring, allowing his man to sink in and help on the ball and then get back on Scottie when the pass has to be kicked back out. His spacing is not good. Has to learn to move without the ball, man, and trust his teammates. He’s got to get better at this stuff.

    Might sound like I’m being hard on him or picky after a win but Scottie has to play better, smarter, less selfishly, and with a higher basketball IQ if this fairly talented team is going to reach it’s potential.

  5. Michael Jones says:

    Is it just me or does it drive anyone else crazy when the offensive player jumps into the defensive player–who has established his position–and gets the call? Been going on forever in basketball. Saw it again last night. Hate that call. What’s the defender supposed to do when the other player jumps into his chest? Get out of the way and give the guy a lay-up?

    Happened to Devon Walker last night and I think it happened a few other times on Miss St drives. Bad calls.

  6. HeadOfficial says:

    Tuesday’s game against Missouri might have been looked at as sleeper but with Walker debuting (even if just for bench work), this game has been shifted to a primetime 9PM slot by ESPN. It will be SRO, maybe a new O-dome record! Hopefully, we won’t get the tired Knight color commentary and get Vitale doing the game. Maybe we’ll even see some Gator FBall/BBall alum in the stands!

    I don’t know who was doing the comments during the ESPN studio halftime show but I agree with his appraisal that Chris Walker takes the Gators from an Elite 8 team to a Final Four team. I also am happy the NCAA investigation took this long because it’s unlikely CW will play enough to consider making an NBA jump in the offseason. Hopefully we’ll see a full season next year of Walker and Harris as out bigs!

  7. fasdfsdadf says:

    We can be better next year if everyone stays

    PG – Kasey Hill, Chris Chiozza
    SG – Michael Frazier, Brandone Francis/Devon Walker
    SF – Dorian Finney Smith, Devin Robinson
    PF – Chris Walker, Alex Murphy
    C – Damontre Harris

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