Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida cruises past LSU 79-61

After being involved in three-straight nail-biters – two away from home – the No. 1 Florida Gators (27-2, 16-0 SEC) were able to take a breath and cruise to a wire-to-wire 79-61 victory on Saturday afternoon, taking down the LSU Tigers (17-11, 8-8 SEC) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Florida clinched the outright 2014 SEC regular-season title with Kentucky’s loss on Thursday but celebrated in style Saturday as it extended its school-record winning streak to 21 games and continued a number of other program-best marks including winning 16 SEC games in a single season.

OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: With under 12 minutes left in the game, Florida senior forward Will Yeguete found senior F Casey Prather cutting to the hoop for an impressive one-handed jam. Less than one minute later, Prather had another impressive finish when he corralled a left-handed alley-oop pass from senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin on the fastbreak for a highlight layup. The Gators increased their lead to 24 points with the basket making it near-impossible for the Tigers to fight back over the duration of the contest. Wilbekin scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep, dished four assists and registered two steals. Yeguete had four points and five boards.

Prominent players: Neither player led UF in scoring on Saturday, but Prather and sophomore guard Michael Frazier II each took over the game in a half to help Florida to victory. Frazier went 4-for-6 from downtown in the first half to spot the Gators an early double-digit lead; he only scored once in the second half, finishing with 14 points and four boards, but was undoubtedly his team’s catalyst. Prather wrapped things up nicely for UF in the latter 20 minutes, finishing 6-for-7 for 14 points with a steal and a block.

Significant stretches: Florida achieved an 18-point lead with four minutes left until the break with a trio of long runs in the first-half. The Gators opened up the game 8-0, compiled an 8-2 stretch midway through the period and used an 11-0 run including three-straight bombs from downtown – two from Frazier – to jump way ahead of the Tigers in the early going. UF’s lead did not dip below 13 points for the remainder of the contest and eventually stretched to as high as 27 points with 6:14 left in the game.

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

Extraordinary effort: Turning over the ball to LSU’s Shavon Coleman with an empty backcourt early in the first half, Prather chased down the ball thief and registered a clean block to negate a potential layup, eliminating the negative consequence from his own miscue and once again showing tremendous effort.

Bountiful bench: Led by a team-high 16 points from Gators redshirt sophomore F Dorian Finney-Smith, UF’s reserves outscored those of the Tigers 28-2 on Saturday. Finney Smith drained 4-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc and reached double-digit scoring for his second-straight game after going through a massive six-game slump in February.

Standout stat: Florida went 9-for-14 from downtown in the first half, hitting more triples in the first 20 minutes than it did in all but three complete games this season. UF made 4-of-9 treys in the second half and finished with a season-high 13 makes from deep.

What it means: Taking care of business at home, the Gators increased their O’Dome winning streaks to 31 games overall and 16 games against SEC opponents. UF also ensured it will retain its No. 1 ranking on Monday as it looks to close out the season with two more games next week.

Next up: Florida hits the road for its final away contest of the regular season when it faces South Carolina in Columbia, SC on Tuesday. The Gators beat the Gamecocks 74-58 back on Jan. 8 and will look to remain undefeated in league play at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

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13 Responses to “Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida cruises past LSU 79-61”

  1. tadees says:

    Impressive game, indeed (albeit against an admittedly inferior opponent). The few times LSU started to put together a run, either a timeout was called to regroup or, honestly, Wilbekin’s senior status and excellent leadership shone yet again. His floor leadership is invaluable. Kudos to this 2013-14 team, as they’ll go down in the annals of Florida basketball as one of the greatest ever.

    (On an unrelated side note, I visit your site regularly Adam (assumed, given you’re the author of the majority of articles) though don’t participate much. Sincerely appreciate the coverage and insight you provide (Game Day, Fast Break, Path to the NFL Draft, etc). Fantastic job, all the way around!)

  2. uf_84 says:

    The boys were clicking on all cylinders today. They came out focused and looking like they mean buisness for a national TV audience to see. It’s going to be one really special senior day next Saturday. Definitely a great way to get March started.

  3. Michael Jones says:

    Will get real interesting (or maybe “entertaining” is the right word) when our ballhandlers’ minds catch up to Chris Walker’s athleticism. There were a few times when we missed passes to an open Walker that would have become highlight reel material if he had gotten his hands on the ball. . particularly once after Devon made a nice steal at halfcourt but missed a streaking Chris cutting to the hoop.

    I know he’s got a lot of developing still to do, but he has other-worldly athleticism. If they would put it up there for him at a dead run, while he’s beating his man down the court, the roof will come off the O’Dome.

    • HeadOfficial says:

      Michael, that is the complete opposite of what Donovan and these seniors have been taught and implement each game. The Gators aren’t “highlight reel” makers! It’s a complete team effort each game. The O’Dome roof shakes enough on how these guys are playing this year!

      • gatorboi352 says:

        I gotta side with Michael here. And i pray that’s not how they’ve been “taught” (pretty sure it’s not). Hill and Chris already have the chemistry. But the other guys (Scottie especially) need to start emphasizing Chris more when he’s on the court. Nobody in the SEC can guard him.

  4. Gatoralum88 says:

    AWESOME!!!…way worse than the final score considering their starters out-scored Billy’s bench 13-2 in the final 3 minutes. It looks like Doe Doe has his confidence & his shot back! I’m glad Billy gave Walker some decent minutes. He had his best game & it’s also good to have Hill back. Let March madness begin!!! They’re ready!!! Go Gators!!!

  5. Gatoralum88 says:

    Adam slipping??? You’re now 2 games behind on the schedule to the right! (kidding) :) Keep up the great work!

  6. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Adam, I (happily) made my contribution to the site but the request continues to pop up. will it do that forever? No big deal, just wondering :)

  7. Gatoralum88 says:

    I wonder if that “Big Blue” blueprint is working for UK fans? The Gators are on their way to a perfect season in conference play likely without a player who’ll be taken in the 1st round of June’s NBA draft. I’ll take mid-level recruits who Billy can develop over 4 years over their “1 & done” model any day! If coach Cal can get ‘em to play together like 2 years ago than more power to ‘em. But, more likely than not it WON’T happen. The Gators have won 3 of the last 4 conference championships with SENIOR led teams. (Young, Yeguete, Prather, Wilbekin this year… Murphy, Boynton, Rosario in 13…Parsons, Macklin, Tyus in 11). NONE went in the NBA 1st round. UK’s senior day is laughable!

    At this point, there’s a big enough body of work to show Cal over-recruits & most of his “1 & done’s” (Teague, Lamb, Goodwin, Kidd-Gilchrist) are either out of the league or will be soon. Meanwhile, Parsons is on his way to a big pay day! It seems like NBA coaches don’t have the time or ability to develop these early entries. Here’s hoping the Goodwin’s, Dakari Johnson, Young, Cauly-Stein, Poythress, & Randle all foolishly turn pro. My guess is only Randle will eventually make an impact. Here’s also hoping Wilbekin, Prather, & P. Young get a chance somewhere. It won’t surprise me if they have longer careers like fellow 4-year guys Haslem, Bonner, & Lee.

    I’m currently watching “Men of March” on CBSSC on Billy. It’s really well done! What a GREAT coach he is!!! We’re SO lucky to have him! Go Gators!!!

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