Fastbreak: Florida upends Wake Forest 63-50

By Jordan McPherson – OnlyGators.com Contributor

Florida Gators basketball (7-4) won its fourth-straight game by taking down the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-6) on Saturday at the BB&T Center in the second game of the 2014 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, Florida.

UF led by nine at halftime with poor shooting from both sides keeping the game close throughout, but the Gators finished strong with a 17-5 run on their way to a 63-50 victory.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s action with 11 quick-hitters:

It was over when: After seeing the team struggle to score for most of the game, redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith hit a much-needed three-pointer and junior guard Michael Frazier II finished at the rim on back-to-back possessions to give Florida a 10-point lead with 3:37 left in the contest.

Significant stretch: Trailing 10-7 just six minutes into the game, the Gators went on a 15-0 run over 3:40 to jump ahead 22-10 with 10:12 remaining in the first half. UF hit 5-of-6 shots and all three of its attempts from beyond the arc during the run, taking a lead that it would hold for the remainder of the game.

Prominent player: For the second-straight game, Finney-Smith led the Gators in scoring, racking up 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting. He also paced Florida by hauling in six of the team’s 28 rebounds.

Dynamic debut: Redshirt sophomore F Alex Murphy, a transfer from Duke and the younger brother of former Gators F Erik Murphy, also made waves in his Florida debut. After sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, Murphy scored nine points on 2-of-4 shooting with a 5-for-6 mark from the charity stripe. He also recorded four assists as well as a pair of blocks and steals in 27 minutes.

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Donovan addresses Murphy’s eligibility, Carter’s health as Florida preps for Wake Forest

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Thursday to preview Saturday’s game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the 2014 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic and discuss his team as it heads into the holiday break.

GATORS MAY ADD MUCH-NEEDED DEPTH

A mid-season transfer from Duke, redshirt sophomore forward Alex Murphy has yet to suit up for Florida in a game but looks poised to take the court for the first time in Saturday. All Murphy needs to be cleared for action is for the school to post his fall semester grades, which would immediately make him eligible as it would mark the conclusion of the semester.

“We’re just trying to remain optimistic he’ll get an opportunity to play on Saturday,” Donovan said.

“This week I’ve tried to put him in a little bit more to try to get him kind of caught up and up to speed and what he needs to do. And he’s a smart kid, Alex. He picks up things pretty quickly. So I’m not really worried about that,” he added.

With Murphy practicing with the Gators for the last year, he is capable of being brought into the regular rotation without much of an adjustment. His knowledge base will go a long way to helping Donovan factor him in to his plans from the get-go.

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Florida athletics receives largest-ever $12.5 million donation for student facility

The University of Florida’s University Athletic Association on Friday announced receipt of $12.5 million from an anonymous donor, which is being billed as the largest-ever donation to the program.

The $12.5 million will go towards a massive $25 million renovation to the Office of Student Life, which the Florida Gators believe will be a huge benefit to current athletes and a massive recruiting tool for future Gators.

The renovation will improve academic programs for all 480 Florida athletes across 21 varsity sports. Renovations will begin in March for what will be named the Otis Hawkins Center for Academic and Personal Excellence.

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FOUR BITS: Brewer trade, Ingram, Young

1 » As a versatile, affordable swingman, former Florida Gators forward Corey Brewer has already been traded twice in his nine-year NBA career and may be on the verge of being moved a third time. According to ESPN.com, the Minnesota Timberwolves put Brewer on the market Wednesday night with Cleveland, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers emerging as the “most interested suitors” for his services. Brewer is earning $4.7 million this season and has an option on a $4.9 million salary in 2015-16; however, it is believed that “teams would hope to persuade Brewer to waive” that option in order to “help facilitate the trade” from a bottom-basement team to championship-caliber franchise. It is believed that he will consider such a move, which would allow him to reach free agency a year sooner. Brewer is averaging 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game this season, though he is shooting just 41.8 percent from the field and 19.5 percent from beyond the arc. His versatility and ability to swing momentum in a flash is a valued asset that should lead Brewer to a team that could help him win his second pro title.

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SIX BITS: awards, Speights, Tebow, Beal, Wuerffel

1 » The Florida Gators football team held its annual team banquet on Saturday. Awards were handed out for everything from on-field performance to working hard in practice and how courageous a particular player may have proven to be during the season. Below are the 2014 award winners along with some explanations and details.

Coaches’ Choice Awards
President’s Academic Award: Jeff Driskel, Mike Mcneely
* Third-straight year that McNeely won the award.
Gene Elleson Community Service Award: Max Garcia, Mark Herndon
* Second-straight year that Herndon won the award.
Iron Gator Strength and Conditioning Award: Clay Burton, Hunter Joyer, Max Garcia, Antonio Morrison
Chris Patrick Courage Award: Alex Anzalone, Gideon Ajagbe, Andre Debose, Chaz Green, Matt Jones, Antonio Morrison, Jeremi Powell
Most Valuable Offensive Scout Team Award: R.J. Raymond, Dakota Wilson |
Defensive: Ryan Parrish | Special Teams: Garrett Stephens, Roger Dixon
* Second-straight year that Parrish won the award.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: awards, Speights, Tebow, Beal, Wuerffel

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Fastbreak: Florida routs Jacksonville 79-34

Florida Gators basketball (6-4) won its third-straight game by running roughshod over the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-9) on Sunday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

UF only held a 10-point lead at the half but routed JU in the latter 20 minutes, using a 28-4 half-spanning scoring stretch to run the Dolphins out of the building as the Gators picked up an impressive 79-34 victory at home.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Sunday’s action with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when / significant stretch: The Gators opened the second half just as hot as they closed the first, erupting on a 22-4 run (28-4 spanning the half) with a pair of threes from junior guard Michael Frazier plus one each from redshirt juniors forward Dorian Finney-Smith and G Eli Carter to double-up the visiting Dolphins with a 56-28 lead. Florida never looked back, using a game-ending 15-0 run (including another Frazier trey) to extend its advantage to a game-high 45 points.

Prominent players: Finney-Smith was dominant on Sunday, posting a career-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting (5-of-7 from beyond the arc). He also added six boards and two dimes to his line. Nearly equalling his teammate’s effectiveness was Frazier, who went 8-for-14 from the field and 6-for-11 from long range to finish with 22 points and six rebounds. The duo combined for 59.4 percent of the team’s scoring and 84.6 percent of its makes from downtown.

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. JU Dolphins

Florida Gators basketball (5-4) is back above .500 and looks to turn over the weekend with consecutive victories when it hosts the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-8) on Sunday.

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

TV: Fox Sports Network (James Bates, Larry Conley)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 102/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS JACKSONVILLE DOLPHINS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Tony Jasick
Record: 5-4 Record: 2-8
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Sun

Odds: OFF

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Fastbreak: Florida drops Texas Southern 75-50

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.

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