Florida fights off, eventually falls to Xavier 76-64

By Adam Silverstein
February 13, 2010

Coming off of a tough conference loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Wednesday, the Florida Gators (17-8) hoped to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive with a win in a rare late season out-of-conference game against the Xavier Musketeers (17-7). While the Gators did their best to fend off the Musketeers throughout the game, the overwhelming size and speed of their opponent coupled with their own inconsistency would make their efforts moot in the end Saturday night in Gainesville, FL, at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Read the complete and detailed OGGOA game story after the jump!

Florida took their first lead of the game early at 6-5, but Xavier sliced up the Gators defense and used a 10-0 run to go up 11 with 13:49 to go in the first half. A similar 11-3 run put the Musketeers ahead a game-high 16 points with 7:12 remaining on the clock. After going back-and-forth for a few minutes, Florida mounted their first major run of the game in the final minutes of the first half, outscoring Xavier 11-2 to cut their deficit to seven and provide the Gators with some momentum at halftime.

That momentum held as Florida freshman guard Kenny Boynton scored five straight points to cut the Gators’ deficit to four at 16:25. UF then took off on a 14-3 run, capped with a one-handed dunk by redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin to take their first lead since 6-5 at 17:01 in the first half. Florida outscored Xavier 27-11 through halftime to overcome a game-high 16-point deficit before the game began going back-and-forth.

The Musketeers retook the lead at 9:25 and followed up with an explosive 12-2 run to go back up eight with 7:35 remaining. However, the Gators would fight back once again and cut their deficit to three on the heels of a controlled trey from junior forward Chandler Parsons at 3:45. Xavier responded with a 10-1 run of their own, going back up 12 with a minute to go and holding on for the remainder of the contest.

“[Xavier’s] overall team speed, athleticism and strength was far better than ours,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “They out (per)formed us, coached us, played us – everything today. […] I feel bad for our guys sometimes. Depth wise, we only really are playing six-and-a-half, seven guys. We certainly have some physical limitations and some depth limitations. I’m asking them to do everything […] and the room for error is maybe not what it has been in the past. […] I would say that there’s definitely a fatigue level. It could it be mental fatigue, it could it be mental fatigue, I don’t know.”

Parsons led the Gators with 15 points while Macklin capitalized with a team-high 10 boards and 12 points. Boynton also contributed 12 points and sophomore point guard Erving Walker shot only 3-for-10 from the field and 1-for-5 from downtown for 11 points of his own.

For the Musketeers, C Jason Love was dominant in the first half, scoring 14 of his game-high 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting. He finished 9-for-12 and added 10 rebounds to his double-double performance. F Jamel McLean gave Xavier a game-high 15 rebounds while guard Jordan Crawford added a solid 18 points.

The best team in the Atlantic 10 from behind the arc, the Musketeers only went 4-for-20 from downtown. Xavier outrebounded the Florida 40-27 and earned six more offensive boards. The Gators continued to struggle from the free throw line, finishing 12-for-23 as a team with Macklin going 0-for-5.

Florida gets five days off after their back-to-back losses before returning to action and trying to save their season against the Auburn Tigers on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN.

18 Comments

  1. Wingtee says:

    We were outclassed and truthfully outcoached.We had 1 player that could start forXaiver…..CO

    • Well, if the Gators have worse talent, in your opinion, they were more than just out coached. Problem right now is that no one is stepping up and teams are eliminating Walker.

  2. g8ter27 says:

    Just don’t see how we get out recruited by teams like Richmond and Xavier on a consistent basis.

  3. Wingtee says:

    Adam do you nor think Xavier has more talent?

  4. G88888rrrrrrrrrrrrrrsss says:

    it be nice if you added some commentary….so dry, we know they lost……blah blah

  5. ReptilesRule says:

    Next year will be pivitol for the future of Billy and the program. A 4th straight year of an NIT appearance will be absolutely unacceptable. Billy has a good class coming in and since we don’t have anyone who could even sniff the NBA talent wise, I would expect development of our current roster as well.

  6. Mitch says:

    Look, you can talk all you want about our player’s deficiencies. Billy is the captain of this ship and that ship has been taking on water since the 04’s left and is about to sink. Flat out, 3 nit’s in a row for a coach making the money Billy is, is just pathetic. What other D1 Bball coach makes that much and hasnt seen the NCAA tourney for 3 straight years. Maybe there is another but I doubt it. Bily is becoming a much younger version of Bobby Bowden for us. He built the program, so I guess he has the right to destroy it. I will always watch the games and cheer for my GAtors, but the high expectations of Billy are now gone, and he is just another under-achieving coach like so many others out there. I would start Nimrod and McClannahan over Walker and Boyton the next game. How much worse could they do. And at this point does it really matter.

  7. Mr2Bits says:

    Dan Werner had an outstanding game, 15 minutes played and 0-3. This team is becoming impossible to watch as they just anger me.

  8. Drew 4 Orange and Blue says:

    Comparing Billy to Bowden….give me a break….Billy brings 3 Final Four’s and 2 NC’s to a school where football is king….yes for the money he makes you would expect him to make the tourney every year but give me a break….we know the 04’s returning for the repeat NC would set the program back a year or two but so what….have some patience folks…..with the class we have coming in next year this should be a tourney team…..if Speights doesn’t leave early there is a good chance we would have made it to the dance in ’08….let’s stop over reactiing!!!!

  9. Mitch says:

    Drew4, Patience is wonderfull, but in this case patience is over. In a sport where one good recruting class can make a team a contender (see UK), 3 years is a lifetime to reload the program. Bill has recruited poorly, retained players poorly, and developed talent poorly (see Werner, shipman, an at this rate Boyton). When Xavier puts a better team on the floor than UF, something more than patience is warranted. I think the Bowden comparison, while exagerated, has some relevance. Bowden continued to recruit well on paper, but the players underachieved, as did his teams. Seems a little similar to this situation. Billy is a good coach, caught some magic with the 04’s, and it is becoming apparent that he cant recruit and coach to stay at a top-tier national program. The luster of the program from the 04’s is all gone. Billy has somehow managed to turn a cadillac into a yugo. You have to make a lot of mistakes for that to happen. Someone has to be accountable.

  10. Drew 4 Orange and Blue says:

    Mitch – Bowden built a dynasty in a sport and area rich in football talent and fan support…..we have neither in basketball….the fact Billy did what he did here is just amazing…did it involve some luck or magic…of course it did…but you just want to throw away the man who brought us all that? I am disapointed in how we were dominated by Xavier on our home court…I think it not only looks bad for us but for the entire SEC but I don’t think over reacting does us any good.

  11. Mitch says:

    Drew – we cannot and should not continue to pay 3.5 mill for a coach that delivers NIT teams, and cant draw big crowds to games. Does Billy have a lifetime pass? Does it seem logical that the program is now worse than it was before 2 national championships, when we at least made the tourney every year. We reached the mountain top and then fell completely off. Something is wrong internally with this program, and it starts and stops with the head coach. This is business not charity. Would your boss give you a three year pass for substandard performance, if you were previously great? Not in the real world.

  12. Drew 4 Orange and Blue says:

    Made the tourney every year…not before Billy came to UF did we ever have those type expectations…maybe someone on here can look it up but I would be surprised if we made the tourney more than 2 years in a row before Billy came and had a losing record the year before he came which at the time Kruger didn’t really have much heat because he had taken us to a Final Four…now we win 20 games and make the NIT and you want to fire the coach with 3 final fours and two NC’s

  13. Just a few points to make after reading your posts.

    – Donovan is not responsible for drawing crowds to the games. Team wins, fan support comes.
    – Saw an example of one good recruiting class from UK turning the program around. Well, if you want Donovan and UF athletics to begin paying players and doing favors for them Blue Chips-style like Kentucky did this year, they could do the same thing. I prefer a clean program. There is a reason Coach Cal’s teams have faced sanctions everywhere he has gone – Kentucky will be no different.
    – I don’t think you can say Donovan has recruited poorly when he recruited every single player that led to the 13-or-so consecutive tournament appearances, three title games (two wins) and three SEC Championships.
    – And if he is recruiting poorly, how do you explain the two top-40 forwards signed for 2010 and two top-10 guards (both five stars) committed already for 2011 with a third (Knight) as a possibility.

    Mitch, while the program is in shambles right now and a lot needs to be done to resurrect it (a lot of which are things Billy needs to change), there is no accounting for the major talent losses he has had to face three years in a row along with a large amount of transfers and injuries. Depth is one of the biggest issues on the team this year…not coaching. The team is losing games on the floor, not in the locker room or on the bench.

  14. Mitch says:

    Adam – I appreciate your thought but consider

    – Donovan is not responsible for drawing crowds to the games. Team wins, fan support comes.
    TEAM WINS ARE BILLY’S JOB. NO FANS BECAUSE NO WINS IS BILLY’S FAULT

    -Saw an example of one good recruiting class from UK turning the program around. Well, if you want Donovan and UF athletics to begin paying players and doing favors for them Blue Chips-style like Kentucky did this year, they could do the same thing. I prefer a clean program. There is a reason Coach Cal’s teams have faced sanctions everywhere he has gone – Kentucky will be no different.
    IF YOU KNOW OF BLUE CHIP PAYOUTS, YOU SHOULD FORWARD THAT TO NCAA. AS FAR AS I KNOW UK RECRUITED GREAT AND TURNED IT AROUND FAST

    – I don’t think you can say Donovan has recruited poorly when he recruited every single player that led to the 13-or-so consecutive tournament appearances, three title games (two wins) and three SEC Championships.
    THAT’S MY POINT. WHAT HAPPENDED TO THAT CONSISTENCY. 04’S LEAVING IS NOT AN EXCUSE 3 YEARS OUT.
    – And if he is recruiting poorly, how do you explain the two top-40 forwards signed for 2010 and two top-10 guards (both five stars) committed already for 2011 with a third (Knight) as a possibility.
    WHAT ABOUT VARGAS, HUERTAS, MITCHELL, CHENEY, MACKLIN, ETC.. ON PAPER THEY ALL LOOKED GREAT. I HAVE SERIOUS DOUBTS ABOUT OUR RECRUITING AND ESPECIALLY ABOUT BILLY’S ABILITY TO ESTABLISH A BALANCED ROSTER.

  15. Team wins are the job of the players, Donovan is supposed to be coaching and teaching them how to play their best and win games. Again, he can only push them so far. The 2010 Gators basketball team is not playing “Billy Ball” as his teams have in the past. And that is because, talent-wise, they aren’t able to. I think it is comical that you are attributing the team’s failures to Donovan and nothing else.

    Mitch, you are looking at this very one-sided. The team lost its six top starters in 2007. The next season, it lost its best player in Speights. The year after, it lost its best player in Calathes. Simultaneously, numerous players transferred and others got injured and Donovan lost three assistant coaches who were very important to the fluidity of his coaching staff. There has been a lot of adversity facing this program, and you blaming everything on Donovan is just ridiculous.

    Vargas, Huertas, Mitchell and Cheney transferred. Many of them played/are playing quite well at their new locations. Macklin is an incoming transfer starting the first season of his career and is playing decently well.

    The players – who are the ones that execute – are significantly more at fault than Donovan is. Billy deserves his fair share, but the way you are piling on him is just ridiculous. Not here to argue with you, was just providing my insight on many things you have been saying that are blatantly false and incorrect. Have fun continuing this with Drew.

  16. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I’ll probably leave Mitch be…he has his opinion….I think Billy has taken this program to heights most of us never thought possible….and I think he will get us back to a top 15 program in the next two years….I would like a thread on discussing just how FBS basketball coaches have to weigh recruiting the one and done type players….is it worth the trouble? Is the have to go to college for one year rule good for college basketball….is it getting to the point you will not be able to win it all without that caliber player?

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