Despite only shooting 30.8 percent in the first half and struggling to find an offensive rhythm early on, No. 7/8 Florida Gators basketball (4-0) played a complete game defensively in a 58-40 rout of the Savannah State Tigers (3-3) on Tuesday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.
Junior center Patric Young led the way for the Gators with his second double-double of the season, a 13-point, 11-rebound performance that was highlighted by a career-high six blocked shots. Young went 5-for-10 from the field as part of the the sixth double-double of his three-year career.
Florida opened up by scoring 15 of the first 17 points in the game but also started just 4-of-19 from the field. The Gators were much better offensively over the duration of the first half, hitting four of their last seven shots, but also slacked defensively during the final minute. UF was up 24-4 at one point but got outscored by six points over the final 3:12 and took a 14-point lead into the break.
Nine points on two treys and an old-fashioned three-point play by redshirt senior Mike Rosario, along with a triple from senior forward Erik Murphy, put Florida ahead 43-18 with 12:19 left in the game as part of a half-opening 15-4 run.
In the middle of the scoring stretch, senior G Kenny Boynton was called for a charge on a driving layup and landed awkwardly, rolling his left ankle and eventually being helped off the court before making his way back to the locker room. He returned to the bench minutes later but eventually found his way to the locker room a second time, limping once again as he walked off the bench.
“The only thing from the trainer was that he was capable of going back into the game. He suggested we hold him out,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “With an ankle sprain, you always find out a lot more the next morning to see how much it swells. Right now we don’t anticipate him missing any games, but we’ll see how he is in the morning.”
Rosario and Murphy joined Young by scoring in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. The duo combined to go 7-of-20 from the floor and 4-for-9 from downtown. Rosario added a team-high three assists and two steals, while Murphy contributed five rebounds, a block and two steals of his own.
Junior F Will Yeguete chipped in seven points and six boards.
Though Florida did shoot poorly (35.4 percent), its defense remained dominant, holding Savannah State to 34.8 percent from the field and forcing 20 turnovers in the process. The Gators did hit 6-of-14 attempts from beyond the arc but hit a paltry 18-of-28 tries from the free throw line.
Florida will play its third game in six days on Friday when UF hosts UCF on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports.
Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press