Florida Gators basketball (5-4) broke .500 with a wire-to-wire 75-50 victory over the Texas Southern Tigers (1-7) on Friday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.
OnlyGators.com breaks down Friday’s action with nine quick-hitters:
It was over when / significant stretch: Following an 8-0 run by Texas Southern that cut Florida’s lead to 13 with 13:18 remaining, Gators redshirt junior guard Eli Carter banged in a three to kick off an 8-0 response that put UF back ahead by 19 midway through the second half. Florida cruised from there, at one point extending its advantage to 25 points with three minutes to play. Carter only played 14 minutes but finished 2-for-3 with six points and two rebounds.
Prominent players: Freshman forward Devin Robinson appears to be putting things together after being a black hole and air-ball gifter through the first seven games of his young career. Robinson scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, hitting 2-of-3 threes and all three of his free throws. He also added four boards but committed four fouls as well. Sophomore F Chris Walker also shined for Florida, notching 12 points and a career-high four blocks in 16 minutes.
Important injury: With just over five minutes remaining in the contest, Robinson rolled his left and went down to the hardwood. He grabbed his lower shin and grimaced but was able to get up and walk off the court under his own power. Robinson returned to play out the final 2:30 of the contest, entering the game with UF leading by 25.
First half focus: Florida opened the game by scoring nine-straight points and jumping ahead 16-5 by hitting seven of its first nine shots and both of its attempts from long range. The Gators increased that advantage to 18 on the back of a 13-3 run highlighted by an emphatic dunk by Robinson and took a 17-point lead into the break despite committing seven turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Perfect plays: Early in the second half, sophomore point guard Kasey Hill faked a pass and began to dribble inside the arc only to lift the ball in the air to Walker, who slammed it home to complete the thunderous alley-oop. It was one of Hill’s team-high seven assists on the evening. Walker doubled up his highlight reel in the final seconds of the game, completing an alley-oop with a rim-rocking, exclamation-point dunk to end the contest.
Standout stat: The Gators absolutely dominated the Tigers in the paint, outscoring the visitors 48-14 (26-10 at the half) downlow and outrebounding them 34-32. Florida also continued its consistent passing, registering 19 assists on 31 made baskets and even tossing the ball around 14 times on a 35-second possession that resulted in a layup early during the first half.
What it means: UF did its job, making quick work of TSU and earning its second decisive win of the week. The Gators have done plenty to improve their confidence over this five-day stretch and should enter the end of their non-conference schedule with some positive momentum.
Next up: Florida will end its three-game homestand on Sunday when it hosts Jacksonville at 4 p.m. UF will then get a six-day break before taking on Wake Forest as part of the 2014 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, Florida, on Dec. 20.
Everything else: Junior G Michael Fraizer II struggled on Friday, hitting just 3-of-8 shots for 11 points and committing three fouls (two in the first 2:20 of the contest) … once gaining the lead 58 seconds into the contest, the Gators did not lose it, earning the wire-to-wire victory with a lead for 39:02 of the 40-minute game … redshirt junior F Dorian Finney-Smith struggled with some telegraphed passing that resulted in turnovers but contributed nevertheless, shooting 50 percent from the field for 11 points with team-highs of seven boards and four assists … redshirt senior center Jon Horford was also efficient with six rebounds along and 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting