Hosting the Marquette Golden Eagles (5-2) on Thursday evening as part of the 2012 SEC/BIG EAST Challenge, the No. 7 Florida Gators (6-0) put together another complete performance, running the visitors out of the building with a big 82-49 victory at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.
Florida improved to 31-1 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game. The Gators had six players score in double figures and used their stellar defense to hold an advantage all game long, never giving up a lead that appeared to increase with each passing minute.
Both teams were cold out of the gate with each going 3-for-11 from the field to start the game. Redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario scored six of Florida’s first 10 points, but it was back-to-back threes from freshman G Michael Frazier II that fueled a 13-4 run and propelled the Gators ahead of the Golden Eagles 23-13 midway through the half.
Frazier got hot again just before halftime, once again nailing consecutive treys as part of an 8-0 run that put UF on top of MU by 16 with a minute to play until the break. Florida senior forward Erik Murphy followed suit by scoring five-straight as part of a 9-0 run that opened the second half and gave the Gators a 23-point lead.
[EXPAND CLICK TO EXPAND and read the rest of this game story.]Florida eventually increased its advantage to a game-high 31 points on the fifth trey of the game from Frazier as UF continued to put the pressure on defensively.
Junior center Patric Young, who was removed from the starting lineup prior to the game because head coach Billy Donovan said he was displaying a poor attitude during practice, was understandably motivated and played like he was on fire. Young finished with a double-double including a game-high 10 rebounds (matching a career-high with six on the offensive glass) and also registered 10 points and three big blocks.
Leading the way for the Gators was Frazier, whose five three-pointers made up most of his team- and career-high 17 points. Rosario (11), Murphy (10), junior F Will Yeguete (11) and junior F Casey Prather (11) also scored in double-figures. Yeguete contributed seven boards and also had an impressive swat early in the contest.
Senior G Kenny Boynton had an off night overall, going just 2-for-11 from the field and 0-for-5 from downtown for six points in a team-high 34 minutes. He did, however, dish a game-high five assists while only turning the ball over once.
The Golden Eagles did not get much going overall but did benefit from a superb performance from G Vander Blue, who finished 8-of-14 for a game-high 20 points.
Florida outshot Marquette from the field, beyond the arc and at the charity stripe. The Gators hit 17-of-20 free throws and held the rebounding edge 37-23. Despite the Golden Eagles being one of the best bench scoring teams in the nation, UF had the edge there 40-19 and also outscored MU in the paint 32-28.
Now having opened the season 6-0 for just the second time since 2007-08, Florida will get six days off before travelling to Tallahassee, FL for an in-state rivalry game with Florida State on Dec. 5.
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