No. 14/16 Florida Gators basketball (3-1) took care of the Southern Jaguars (1-4) rather easily on Monday, picking up a 67-53 victory at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL despite losing one of their most important players early in the second half to a serious injury.
OnlyGators.com breaks down the Gators’ third win with The Fastbreak.
It was over when: Florida led by double digits throughout the entire second half, but a three-pointer by redshirt sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith with 8:27 to play pushed the Gators ahead by 20 and put any thought of a potential comeback to rest. He finished with eight points and seven boards before fouling out with 4:10 remaining.
Significant stretch: Going to a press late in the first half, Florida scored six-straight points to boost its lead to 14 with 6:19 left in the opening period. The Gators extended that advantage to 16 points by halftime and never looked back.
Prominent player: Though he only hit 2-of-7 shots from the field, senior F Casey Prather once again made his case for being Florida’s best player, scoring 10 points and leading the Gators with nine rebounds (six off the offensive glass) and four assists. He also had a steal and a block on the evening and hit 6-of-7 free throws.
Memorable moment: Driving the lane with 18:04 left in the game, freshman point guard Kasey Hill stepped awkwardly, badly rolling his left ankle and crashing to the hardwood with an audible scream. He was helped off by two trainers and barely put any pressure on the ankle as he was removed from the court and directed towards the locker room. Hill left the game with eight points, three dimes and two swipes and was determined after the game to have suffered a high-ankle sprain.
— OnlyGators.com (@onlygators) November 19, 2013
Perfect play: With the shot clock winding down early in the first half, redshirt sophomore guard DeVon Walker dribbled to the free throw line, spun away from two defenders and banked it off the glass for just his second basket of the season. Walker was 4-for-9 from the field and finished with nine points.
Standout stat: Florida was all over the offensive glass on Monday, picking up 18 rebounds off missed shots and 42 total in the game. The Gators won the rebounding battle by 14 overall, six of which came from senior center Patric Young, who also scored a team-high 12 points and registered three blocks.
What it means: The victory was expected, so Hill’s injury is the biggest news coming out of Monday night’s game. The injury has not been specified as of press time, but even if Hill is out for an extended period of time, the Gators are unlikely to be without a true point guard for long. OnlyGators.com was told months ago that senior Scottie Wilbekin is expected to return in one week – on Nov. 25 at Jacksonville – which means Florida may only need to find a fill-in floor general for a single contest (Thursday at home against Middle Tennessee).
Next up: UF and MTSU will square off in the final game of the Global Sports Challenge (an exempt tournament in which the Gators are currently 3-0) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports.