No. 10 Florida Gators basketball played its annual exhibition game on Thursday and made easy work of the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers, ousting the Division II visitors 101-71 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.
Junior forward Will Yeguete showcased his signature swarming defense but flashed an improved offensive game as well, posting a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds in a team-high 24 minutes. Yeguete hit 8-of-10 shots from the field and went 4-for-5 from the free throw line, nabbing six offensive rebounds and adding two steals to his total.
Joining him to lead the way for Florida was freshman guard Michael Frazier II, who impressed onlookers by scoring a team-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting while hitting 5-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc.
The Gators doubled up the Lopers early in the contest, taking a 28-14 lead over the first 11 minutes. Nebraska-Kearney then cut Florida’s lead down to just four points, going on a 12-2 over 3:20. Lopers G Sami Bzai scored eight points over that stretch and finished the game with a team-high 19 while going 5-of-8 from downtown.
UF ended the half on a 16-6 run to take a 46-32 lead into the break with Gators head coach Billy Donovan visibly frustrated with the defensive performance of his starters.
Nebraska-Kearney opened up the second half by scoring the first eight points, but a 13-0 scoring stretch by Florida that included eight points by Frazier put UF ahead 74-50 with 11:02 to play.
The Gators continued to execute offensively, extending their scoring stretch to 29-6 and capping it off with seven-straight points from freshman F Dillon Graham to take a game-high 33-point lead at 89-56 with 4:39 left in the contest.
Graham went 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from three, finishing with 12 points, two rebounds and three assists. Fellow freshman point guard Braxton Ogbueze also scored in double figures, adding 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting while hitting 6-of-8 attempts from the charity stripe.
Senior G Kenny Boynton was once again sound defensively and efficient offensively, hitting 6-of-9 shots (2-of-4 from downtown) for 14 points.
On the other end of the coin, redshirt senior G Mike Rosario and junior PG Scottie Wilbekin both struggled. Rosario coughed up four turnovers and missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc, only scoring two easy baskets and grabbing two boards. Wilbekin dished three dimes but went 2-for-8 from the field and 1-for-5 from long range.
Florida as a team shot 60.3 percent from the field, 45.8 percent from three and 70.0 percent from the free throw line. The Gators only outrebounded the Lopers 32-29 but still turned the ball over 11 times to their opponent’s 19. UF scored 72 of its 101 points off the bench and had 13 assists on 38 made baskets.
Florida will next take the court in the Navy/Marine Corps Classic on Nov. 9 against Georgetown on the deck of the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, FL. The game will air live at 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.