Parsons named 2011 SEC Player of the Year

A double-digit point scorer and team leader in rebounding and assists, Florida Gators senior forward Chandler Parsons was named the 2011 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by the league’s coaches on Tuesday.

He is the first University of Florida student-athlete to ever win the award.

“I’m honored to be named the SEC Player of the Year,’’ Parsons said in a statement. “It’s really not something I ever spent a lot of energy on and in time I may be able to process winning the award, but right now I’m focused on staying grounded and helping our team understand what we have to do to get better everyday. Obviously this award is handed out to a single player, but I share it proudly with my teammates and coaching staff.”

The straw that has stirred the drink for Florida all season, Parsons is one of only two active Division I college basketball players with over 1,300 points, 800 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 steals. He also ranks No. 1 among active SEC players in rebounds (805), No. 3 in points (1377) and assists (307), and No. 4 in steals (123).

Parsons has accounted for seven double-doubles on the season including three-straight to start the month of February and five in SEC play. He is also the only player in the country 6’9” or taller dishing more than 3.0 assists per game.

Averaging 11.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists, Parsons was also named to the 2011 All-SEC First Team alongside Alabama F JaMychal Green, Georgia F Trey Thompkins, Kentucky F Terrence Jones, Kentucky G Brandon Knight, Ole Miss G Chris Warren, Tennessee G Scotty Hopson and Vanderbilt G John Jenkins.

His Gators teammates – sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and junior point guard Erving Walker – earned nominations to the All-SEC Second Team, and center Patric Young was honored on the 2011 SEC All-Freshman Team.

OGGOA RELATED: Billy Donovan named 2011 SEC Coach of the Year

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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Billy Donovan named 2011 SEC Coach of the Year

In 15 seasons with the Florida Gators, head coach Billy Donovan has won two NCAA National Championships, coached in three national title games, been victorious in three Southeastern Conference Tournaments and captured four SEC regular season championships. He was even presented the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award in 2010 to honor his many accomplishments.

On Tuesday, Donovan received an award that has escaped him his entire Florida career as he was finally selected as 2011 SEC Coach of the Year by his peers.

This season, Donovan took a team that was projected to win the conference but saw themselves unranked when SEC action began to a 13-3 record, No. 12 ranking and their first East division and SEC regular season championships since 2007.

“I am extremely humbled to be named SEC Coach of the Year by my peers. This league has outstanding coaches and a number of deserving candidates to win the award,’’ he said in a statement. “I’m fortunate and blessed to have a great group of players, assistant coaches and staff – this honor is more a reflection of their work and effort than anything that I have done.’’

His main competition for the award, former Gators assistant and current Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant, also completed a fantastic year. With Alabama projected to finish third in the SEC West during the preseason, Grant fueled his team to a 12-4 conference record and their first division title since 2005.

“When there is a team that maybe exceeds expectations or maybe a team that comes out of nowhere or nobody thought they would be what they end up being, immediately that’s the Coach of the Year,” Donovan said last week. “If you’re asking me, Anthony Grant’s the Coach of the Year.”

Always complimentary of his fellow coaches and former assistants, Donovan in many ways would have been just as happy to see Grant take home the award. In fact, individual honors are not in Donovan’s wheelhouse, he prefers to win championships.

When Donovan eventually hangs it up, he will likely be ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in all major SEC coaching categories to Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp. Tuesday he lost his lead in one category – being the longest-tenured and most successful head coach in the conference who had not previously earned a SEC Coach of the Year award.

OGGOA RELATED: Chandler Parsons named 2011 SEC Player of the Year

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3/7: Donovan on SEC Tournament and winning

No. 12/12 Florida Gators (24-6, 13-3 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his press availability Monday.

CUTTING DOWN THE NETS

Florida did not get the opportunity to cut down the nets at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, TN seeing as it was Senior Day for the Vanderbilt Commodores, but the team each received a piece of one Monday while also being sized for their Southeastern Conference Championship rings.

SEC BRACKET A NON-ISSUE

Placed in the “bottom” portion of the 2011 SEC Tournament bracket, UF will receive a bye and face either Tennessee [E5] or Arkansas [W4] in quarterfinals action; should they advance, they will likely face either Mississippi State [W2] or Vanderbilt [E3]. Asked about the difficulty of his team’s bracket, Donovan shrugged off the match-ups noting that they simply do not matter. “At this time of year, it doesn’t make a difference. There’s a lot of familiarity amongst [the conference],” he said. “Every game right now adds somewhat of a new life, new challenge for everybody. The regular season is over with, so everybody is basically starting fresh going into Atlanta.”

MO’ MONEY FOR BILLY D

The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway points out that Donovan will be awarded a $50,000 bonus for winning the conference championship, a $37,500 bonus for earning a berth in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and could have more money coming to him in the very near future. Outstanding bonuses he can achieve this season include $37,500 for reaching the Sweet 16, $25,000 on top of that for getting to the Final Four and an additional $150,000 if the Gators win the whole shebang. Should Florida finish in the Associated Press’s Top 10, he would grab $50,000 more.

KEEPING THE FOCUS ON WHAT’s IMPORTANT

Florida has already earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament, something the team has been unable to feel comfortable about over the prior three seasons. With that in mind, Donovan is confident his team will not overlook the upcoming SEC Tournament even though there is a bigger one in their future.

“You go in with an understanding that you can’t get to Saturday without taking care of Friday. We’re going to approach it the same way we always have done. These guys have done a pretty good job of competitively taking on what’s in front of them, and the SEC Tournament is in front of us right now,” he said.

“Winning has been important to these guys. When you win at a high level, it opens up a tremendous amount of doors for opportunity. We have been able to get better because there has been a focus on what we had to do to win and get better.”

DON’T FALL IN LOVE JUST YET…

Though Donovan is sure the team is focused and ready to prepare properly for the challenges in front of them, he continues to provide the same cautionary statement he has all season: “Don’t fall in love.”

“What I mean by that is: I love coaching these guys, they’re great. But the ebbs and flows of big win, tough loss, play great…we still have not conquered that, and that’s still a challenge,” Donovan said. “We’re not quite where we need to be, so I’m not willing to get over to that side. I do love them. I love coaching them. They need to understand that when you win like these guys have won, it becomes more difficult – it does not become easier. In a lot of ways, they’re in uncharted territory.”

Asked when he fell in love with the 2006 and 2007 national title teams, Donovan thought it through before responding. “I was a little bit leery, even the first year. I fell in love with their work ethic, unselfishness and unity as a team,” he said. “I didn’t feel that was ever going to be an issue because I saw how connected they all were. I was concerned about the lack of experience and going through what they were going through.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 3/7: Donovan on SEC Tournament and winning

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FOUR BITS: Alvarez, bat saver, Brewer, Johnson

1 » The National Football Foundation announced Monday that former Florida Gators wide receiver Carlos Alvarez (1969-71) has been added to the ballot of 79 players eligible for the 2011 College Football Hall of Fame. Florida’s all-time leading receiver, having compiled 2,563 yards during his career, Alvarez has never been up for the award before. He was the Gators’ top pass catcher every year he was in school and still holds records in passes caught in a single game (15 vs. Miami, 1969) and most 100-yard games in a season (8). Alvarez is second in UF history for career receptions (172), yards in a season (1,329), yards in a game (246) and 100-yard games (13).

2 » There are plenty of Florida fans from Brooklyn, NY but only one, Mitch Davie, made the news over the weekend. Attending an Atlanta Braves vs. Toronto Blue Jays spring training game, Davie saved a few fans and earned himself a souvenir by grabbing bat flying through the air off the hands of Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla with a single hand…all while not spilling a drop of his Red Stripe beer (see below).

3 » Now a member of the Dallas Mavericks, former Gators forward Corey Brewer has already seen two games of action with the team. Last week, ESPN’s Jeff Wade took a look at how Brewer’s addition will add an increased level of flexibility for Dallas as they look to make a run to the NBA title.

On nights where Dallas is faced with the difficult task of contending with a Kobe Bryant or a Kevin Durant, Brewer is your option. If they don’t feel like a Nic Batum or a Grant Hill will kill them, then Peja starts and keeps the floor properly spaced. They key to all this working is that the Mavs keep winning so that everyone stays content in their role. It was also critical that Brewer signs a multi-year deal so that he knows his playing time or lack thereof, depending on the opponent, doesn’t impact where he’ll be next year. Brewer could also see minutes at the two, though that seems less likely considering the giant logjam in the backcourt that has already squeezed Stephenson out of the mix.

4 » Also last week, The Times and Democrat reported that Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan was in the area that Tuesday take a look at four-star 2012 power forward Brice Johnson (Cordova, SC), who is reportedly favoring UF and Clemson.

Photo Credit: David Goldman/Associated Press

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SEC champion Gators up to No. 12 in Top 25 polls

Closing out the regular season with back-to-back impressive wins to notch their first Southeastern Conference Championship since 2007, the Florida Gators (24-6, 13-3 SEC) defeated the SEC West-leading Alabama Crimson Tide and Vanderbilt Commodores last week. The Gators were rewarded with an improved standing among both the coaches and media voters when the polls were released Monday afternoon.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 10 (1,048)No. 8 (550)-
2W 77-69 vs. North Florida1-0No. 11 (995)No. 10 (535)-
3L 53-59 at No. 20 Wisconsin
W 86-56 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
2-1No. 16 (619)No. 14 (359)-
4W 67-53 vs. Southern
W 79-59 vs. MTSU
4-1No. 15 (729)No. 13 (395)-
5W 86-60 at Jacksonville
W 67-66 vs. Florida State
6-1No. 15 (758)No. 12 (426)-
6L 64-65 at No. 12 UConn6-2No. 19 (434)No. 19 (258)-
7W 67-61 vs. No. 13 Kansas7-2No. 16 (699)No. 17 (296)-
8W 77-75 vs. Memphis
W 66-49 vs. Fresno State
9-2No. 13 (881)No. 14 (383)-
9W 76-34 vs. Savannah State10-2No. 12 (915)No. 13 (413)-
10W 67-58 vs. Richmond11-2No. 10 (1,052)No. 11 (473)12
11W 74-58 vs. South Carolina
W-OT 84-82 at Arkansas
13-2
(2-0 SEC)
No. 7
(1,205)
No. 7
(573)
8
12W 72-50 vs. Georgia
W 68-61 at Auburn
15-2
(4-0 SEC)
No. 6
(1,303)
No. 6
(639)
8
13W 68-62 at Alabama
W 67-41 vs. Tennessee
17-2
(6-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,436)
No. 4
(694)
5
14W 62-51 at Mississippi State
W 69-36 vs. Texas A&M
19-2
(8-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,482)
No. 4
(720)
3
15W 68-58 vs. Missouri
W 78-69 vs. Alabama
21-2
(10-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,477)
No. 4
(711)
5
16W 67-58 at Tennessee
W 69-59 at Kentucky
23-2
(12-0 SEC)
No. 2
(1,543)
No. 2
(752)
4
17W 71-66 vs. Auburn
W 75-71 at Ole Miss
25-2
(14-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(791)
3
18W 57-54 at Vanderbilt
W 79-61 vs. LSU
27-2
(16-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(793)
3
19W 72-46 at South Carolina
W 84-65 vs. Kentucky
29-2
(18-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(793)
2
Post-
season
W 72-49 vs. Missouri
W 56-49 vs. Tennessee
W 61-60 vs. Kentucky
32-2
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(794)
1
FinalW 67-55 vs. Albany
W 61-45 vs. Pittsburgh
W 79-68 vs. UCLA
W 62-52 vs. Dayton
L 53-63 vs. UConn
36-3
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
(4-1 NCAAT)
-No. 3
(735)
-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Ohio State (17), Kansas (14), Brigham Young, Duke, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Notre Dame, Texas, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Louisville, Syracuse, North Carolina, Florida, St. John’s, Connecticut, Georgetown, Arizona, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Utah State, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Missouri, George Mason
+ Florida received 337 voting points

This Week 1-25: Ohio State (17), Kansas (14), Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Duke, San Diego State, North Carolina, Brigham Young, Purdue, Texas, Syracuse, Florida, Wisconsin, Louisville, Arizona, Kentucky, Utah State, St. John’s, Connecticut, Xavier, Texas A&M, Georgetown, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Temple
+ Florida received 456 voting points

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Ohio State (45), Kansas (14), Brigham Young (5), Duke (1), Pittsburgh, Purdue, Texas, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Louisville, Syracuse, North Carolina, Florida, St. John’s, Connecticut, Georgetown, Arizona, Villanova, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Xavier, Texas A&M, Utah State
+ Florida received 688 voting points

This Week 1-25: Ohio State (52), Kansas (13), Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, San Diego State, Brigham Young, Purdue, Texas, Syracuse, Florida, Wisconsin, Louisville, Kentucky, Arizona, St. John’s, Xavier, Kansas State, West Virginia, Connecticut, Georgetown, Utah State, Temple, Cincinnati
+ Florida received 931 voting points

Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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3/6: Vanderbilt post-game news and notes

Capturing his first Southeastern Conference regular season title since 2007, No. 14/14 Florida Gators (24-6, 13-3 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan spoke to the media after his team defeated the No. 20 Vanderbilt Commodores 86-76 on the road. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following Florida’s spectacular victory on Saturday.

BOYNTON HEATING UP; WALKER COOLING OFF

Don’t look now, but sophomore guard Kenny Boynton appears to be heating up at just the right time. Suffering through a shooting slump most of the season (even though he took enough shots to post double-digit points most nights), Boynton has hit 48.5 percent (16-for-33) from the field and 50 percent (13-for-26) of his attempts from beyond the arc over the last three games including a number of clutch threes that have started, extended or concluded major runs. He was 4-for-9 from three on Saturday and hit a trio of triples (including one four-point play) in 98 seconds in the middle of the second half.

Boynton’s success has allowed some to overlook the lack of offensive production from junior point guard Erving Walker over the same stretch. Walker is shooting only 27.6 percent (8-for-29) from the floor over the last three games and 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from downtown over the last four. Either instead of or because of his poor shooting, Walker has been concentrating on dishing the ball like many have hoped he would do over the last two seasons. He has 13 assists combined over the last two games and hit 10-of-11 shots from the charity stripe Saturday to help ice the game for Florida.

TYUS FINALLY STEPPING UP

Though senior forward Alex Tyus has had what he would certainly agree is a disappointing season overall, his effort over the last two games has been exemplary. He has faced some defensive struggles but nearly posted back-to-back double doubles against Alabama and Vanderbilt, falling one rebound shy of the effort in the former game. Tyus posted 13 points and 10 boards Saturday including seven big offensive rebounds. He had 12 points and nine boards Tuesday and combined to go 9-for-16 from the field in both games. With redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin and freshman C Patric Young each playing quite well in the post, Tyus’s resurgence could give the Gators a formidable rotation down low going forward.

FLORIDA’s RESILIENCY THEIR GREATEST ASSET

Since coming back from injury, senior F Chandler Parsons has combined for 63 points and 34 rebounds over the last four games. That’s toughness. Florida has also won back-to-back Southeastern Conference title-clinching contests after falling on the road at Kentucky last week. That’s resiliency. Both are characteristics Donovan sees as prevalent in the Gators this year; he has also been preaching to the team recently that these are two of the main reasons they have been successful this season.

“Because failure is out there so much, when you don’t get the results you want, you identify what the problem is and you work hard to correct the problem,” he said after Saturday’s game. “A lot of times when you’re successful, you don’t look at why you’re successful, you’re too busy spending time living in and enjoying the success.

“I’ve talked to these guys about why they’ve been successful this year and that they can’t lose sight of that. It’s OK to celebrate and enjoy it, but they really need to understand why they’ve been a good team.”

2011 SEC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULING

The 2011 Southeastern Conference Tournament begins March 10, but Florida automatically advances to the quarterfinals as a No. 1 seed and will face the winner of Tennessee vs. Arkansas on March 11 at 7:30 p.m. Should they win that game, they will square-off against either Mississippi State, Vanderbilt or LSU in semifinals action. Check out the full bracket below (click to expand in new window).

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Gators win 2011 SEC title outright as No. 14 Florida takes down No. 20 Vanderbilt 86-76

No. 14 Florida Gators basketball (24-6, 13-3 SEC) put the wheels in motion Tuesday by clinching a share of the 2011 Southeastern Conference regular season title and went on to win it outright Saturday by defeating the No. 20 Vanderbilt Commodores (21-9, 9-7 SEC) 86-76 at the Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, TN.

All five of Florida’s starters scored in double figures and their intensity on the offensive glass (out-rebounding Vanderbilt 11-3) provided them ample opportunities at second-chance points. Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton led the Gators with 17 points, and senior forward Alex Tyus contributed a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

UF struggled early, allowing VU center Festus Ezeli to score nine points in five minutes. He and F Jeffrey Taylor, who added 10 points, scored 19 of the team’s first 21 points as the Commodores led by five early.

Vanderbilt soon went up 25-18, but Florida answered back with an explosive 16-2 run including two three-pointers by senior F Chandler Parsons and five points from both Boynton and redshirt senior C Vernon Macklin to take a 34-27 lead.

The Gators ended the first half with a contested missed trey by junior point guard Erving Walker that was rebounded by Tyus and passed back to Walker for a layup to complete a 20-5 run and give them a 38-30 lead at the break.

With Florida up 11, Vanderbilt used an 8-0 run of their own to reduce their deficit to 48-46 with 13:20 left. VU was soon down only one, but UF quickly responded with an 11-1 run capped by another three from Boynton to gain a 65-54 advantage.

Macklin and freshman C Patric Young each saw themselves in foul trouble after Macklin also committed his fourth with 6:45 left. Even without the size, the Gators did not relent. Boynton hit two more triples (including his fifth four-point play of the year) to put Florida up a game-high 14 points, 73-59, with 6:30 remaining.

The Commodores put one last run together to cut the Gators’ lead to 77-72 with 3:05 to go, but eight free throws from Walker iced the game and clinched the title for Florida.

Boynton scored his 17 points on 4-of-9 shooting from downtown. Tyus was an efficient 5-for-9 from the field and grabbed an impressive seven offensive boards. Walker contributed 16 points (10 from the free throw line) and six assists, while Parsons and Macklin added 13 apiece.

Vanderbilt G John Jenkins scored a game-high 22 points off 9-of-15 shooting. Ezeli added 16 with four blocks, and Taylor was 7-for-11 from the field with 15 points.

The Gators’ 13-3 conference record ties the 2007 team for the best in school history. With the victory, Florida won only its third outright SEC title in school history (1989, 2007) and reached 24 wins for just the fourth time ever.

UF, the No. 1 overall seed in the 2011 SEC Tournament, will face either Georgia, Ole Miss or Tennessee in quarterfinals (second round) action on March 11. The game will air live on your local SEC Network affiliate at 7:30 p.m.

POST-GAME THOUGHTS

Tyus on the win: “It means everything. It was huge. I’m really excited right now. All the guys are really excited. Just all the hard work, how far we’ve come since our freshman and sophomore years. Now we’re getting to the top of the mountain and just want to keep going.”

Parsons on all starters scoring in double figures: “That’s just everybody playing unselfish. We don’t have any guys on our team that try to go out and get theirs. Whoever’s open gets the ball and everyone really contributed tonight. Our bench was terrific in the first half. We played extremely hard tonight. It shows a lot about our team that we won it all for ourselves.”

Parsons on the celebration: “We’re going to celebrate tonight. Definitely gonna celebrate tonight. I’m not going to tell you what or what we’re going to do. There’s definitely going to be some celebrating going on in Gainesville tonight.

Photo Credit: Wade Payne/Associated Press

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No. 14 Florida at No. 20 Vanderbilt Gameday

Location: Memorial Gymnasium – Nashville, TN [Capacity: 14,316]
Time: 6:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 14 FLORIDA GATORS No. 20 VANDERBILT
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Kevin Stallings
Record: 23-6 (12-3 SEC) Record: 21-8 (9-6 SEC)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Vanderbilt -4; O/U 137.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Vanderbilt leads the all-time series against Florida 63-57 and won both meetings last season. However, the Gators are 16-5 in their last 21 games against the Commodores including an overtime victory earlier this year. UF is also 19-11 against them under Donovan including 6-8 in Nashville.
» The Gators are 7-2 against the SEC East this season.
» Florida has won 15 of their last 18 games (and seven of their last eight) with 13 victories against RPI top 100 teams.
» UF, which has already won at least a share of the SEC regular season title and a No. 1 seed in the 2011 SEC Tournament, can win sole possession of the former with either a road victory (or Alabama home loss) on Saturday.
» If the Gators win Saturday, it will be the fourth team in school history to win 24+ regular season games. They would win the third outright SEC title in school history (1989, 2007).
» Florida is 20-1 (9-0 SEC) when holding an opponent under 70 points this year.
» The Gators, struggling all season from the line, are hitting 71.5 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe over the last seven games.
» Florida is 10-2 when senior forward Chandler Parsons takes 10+ shots from the field. He has moved into the top 20 in school history in scoring (1,364 points) and is one of only three active players in Division I college basketball with over 1,300 points, 750 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 steals.
» Gators junior point guard Erving Walker, with 197 three-pointers, is sixth all-time at UF. He is one trey away from moving into the top five.
» UF has reached 20+ wins for the 13th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the SEC. The Gators have also reached 10 wins in league play for the ninth time in the last 13 years and first time since 2007 (13-3).
» Vanderbilt leads Florida in points per game 76.7-71.0 (27th-116th) nationally, while the Gators hold an advantage over the Commodores in assists 14.0-13.6 (99th-129th). The teams are nearly identical in rebounding (37.7 apiece) and field goal percentage (.459-.458 [UF]). Florida holds opponents to five fewer points per game than Vanderbilt 61.8-66.8, grabs more turnovers 13.1-12.5 and coughs up fewer 12.4-13.7. The Gators rank 11th in RPI (.6352) and seventh in strength of schedule nationally compared to the Commodores being 24th (.6172) and 15th, respectively.

LAST TIME OUT

Florida and Vanderbilt will square off for the second time this season; the Gators defeated the Commodores 65-61 in overtime in Gainesville, FL on Feb. 1. Even though the Gators failed to score a single field goal in the last 6:19 of regulation and the first 2:12 of overtime, Florida was up three with 15 seconds left when Parsons hit a pair of free throws to ice the game.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Parsons…who is averaging double-digit points (11.4) while leading the Gators with 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Parsons ranks No. 1 among active SEC players in rebounds (798), No. 3 in points (1,364) and assists (306) and No. 4 steals (123). At one point he notched three-straight double-doubles and now has seven this year.
» Walker…who is leading his team in scoring with 14.4 points per game and leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (.415) and three-point percentage (.377). Walker also leads Florida in turnovers (72) and became the 47th player in school history to score 1,000 points earlier this season.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-best 57.8 percent from the floor this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds a game while being a major presence for UF.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably the Gators’ most talented player but is struggling with consistency shooting the ball. Boynton is only hitting 37.2 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from beyond the arc; however, he is second in scoring with 13.6 points per game and makes a team-high 81.3 percent of his free throws. He is also shooting 86.2 percent from the line (50-of-58) in SEC play.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who is averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage as a starter. Tyus became just the fifth player under Donovan to reach 500 career field goals, accomplishing the feat two weeks ago against Vanderbilt.
» Freshmen PG Scottie Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are Florida’s primary reserves each averaging over 17 minutes per game. Wilbekin, in relief of Walker, leads UF in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.27:1), while Young averages 3.1 points and 3.4 boards.
» Vanderbilt G John Jenkins…who plays a team-high 34.6 minutes and is his team’s leading scorer (19.4 points per game). Jenkins also shoots 89.2 percent from the charity stripe, hits 41.0 percent of his three-pointers and leads the SEC in scoring average.
» Commodores F Jeffrey Taylor…who is his team’s second-leading scorer (14.5) and third-leading rebounder (5.5) while playing the second-most minutes (31.0).
» Vanderbilt G Brad Tinsley…who leads the SEC in assists with 4.5 per game. He also contributes 10.8 points and 3.9 rebounds for the Commodores.

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