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.
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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