FOUR BITS: basketball, softball, gym, tennis, lax

1 » Participating in the 2011 Southeastern Conference Tournament beginning on Thursday, Florida Gators women’s basketball did a great job beating the Arkansas Razorbacks 68-59 in the event’s opening round but ended up falling to the top-seeded No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols 92-75 in quarterfinal action on Friday. Florida (18-14) saw five players reach double-digit point totals in the opening game with sophomore forward Jennifer George, junior guard Deana Allen and redshirt junior F Ndidi Madu scoring 12 a piece while freshman G Jaterra Bonds and redshirt junior G Jordan Jones each posted 11. Unfortunately for the Gators, the Lady Vols routed them for the third time this season, beating them by 17 Friday after wins of 43 and 22 earlier in the year. Allen (13), Madu (13), Bonds (12), Jones (10) all scored double-digit points while junior G Lanita Bartley led the team with 14.

2 » Achieving a much better outcome over the weekend was No. 2/3 Florida softball (19-0), which swept the 2011 Lipton Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL with five victories in three days. UF beat Valparaiso 13-4 and Syracuse 2-0 on Friday before throttling the North Dakota State 18-0 and Pacific 10-2 on Saturday. The Gators closed the tournament with a 9-0 victory over NDSU, combining to outscore them 27-0 in a two-game span. Florida senior right-handed pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (11-0) won three of the five games, only giving up one earned run and four hits in 14.2 innings while striking out 20. Finishing the sweep was freshman RHP Hannah Rogers (8-0), who spelled Brombacher and won both of her games while allowing two earned runs and seven hits while striking out 14 in 13 innings of work.

Senior second baseman Aja Paculba, sophomore outfielder Brittany Schutte and senior first baseman Megan Bush all had spectacular weekends. Paculba (9-17) hit a pair of homers while knocking in five RBI and scoring eight runs. Schutte (5-15) hit two home runs in the opening game and another each in the final two games to total four over the weekend along with 14 RBI, eight runs and six walks. Bush (8-16) was equally impressive with two homers, eight RBI, five runs and three walks. Not to be outdone, freshman third baseman Kasey Fagan hit a grand slam in the third game of the weekend, and sophomore catcher Kelsey Horton hit dingers in back-to-back games.

3 » No. 1 Gators gymnastics (12-1, 5-1 SEC) helped set a NCAA attendance record on Friday, defeating the No. 5 Utah Utes (7-2) 197.00-196.75 in front of 15,558 fans at the Huntsman Center. Florida won the match overall by capturing the vault, bars and beam team events even though they lost the floor by .075. Event winners included sophomore Ashanée Dickerson on the beam (9.875) and vault (9.90), where she tied freshman Alaina Johnson and sophomore Marissa King. Johnson and freshman Mackenzie Caquatto tied to win the bars (9.925), too. With the regular season now complete, UF will defend their SEC title at the 2011 SEC Championships beginning March 19.

4 » No. 1 Gators women’s tennis (13-1, 2-0 SEC) and No. 11 Florida men’s tennis (9-3, 2-0 SEC) each came away from their respective SEC opening weekends with a pair of decisive victories. The women swept the LSU Tigers (2-6, 0-1 SEC) 6-0 and No. 16 Arkansas 7-0 on the road, while the men stayed home and beat the Tigers (3-6, 0-1 SEC) 6-1 and Razorbacks (3-7, 0-2 SEC) 7-0. No. 7 sophomore Allie Will and No. 26 sophomore Lauren Embree won both of their singles matches over the weekend for the women, while No. 6 senior Alexandre Lacroix and No. 28 sophomore Sekou Bangoura, Jr. mirrored their performances on the men’s side.

Extra BIT » Continuing their steady rise in the sport, No. 14 Florida lacrosse (4-1) defeated the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (2-2) 15-10 after fighting back from a 5-5 tie on Saturday afternoon at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville. Standout sophomore midfielder Kitty Cullen once again led the way for the Gators with foul goals, while sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns added three of her own.
 

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).

No. 1 Florida baseball sweeps Miami in series

No. 1 Florida Gators baseball (10-1) completed a three-game series sweep of the No. 24 Miami Hurricanes (4-7) over the weekend with a 5-3 win on Sunday.

Florida was also victorious 8-3 on Friday and 1-0 on Saturday to sweep Miami in Gainesville, FL for the first time in school history.

The Gators have now won nine of their last 10 match-ups against the Hurricanes including six-straight. This weekend they did so in front of a combined crowd of 13,552.

Friday: Sophomore left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson (3-0) struck out nine in five scoreless innings to help Florida prevail. Senior second baseman Josh Adams (3-3, 3 RBI, R) and sophomore third baseman Austin Maddox (2-5, HR, 2 RBI, R) led the way for the offense as the Gators scored eight unanswered runs and eventually won 8-3.

Saturday: Sophomore right-handed pitcher Hudson Randall picked up right where Johnson left off, tossing seven one-hit innings while striking out five before being relieved by RHP Anthony DeSclafani in the top of the eighth. After DeSclafani (2-0) forced three consecutive ground outs, Florida decided to bring in senior Bryson Smith to pinch hit with Adams on second after a lead-off walk. Smith (1-1, RBI) knocked Adams home with a single to right center and DeSclafani struck out two in the top of the ninth to end the game. The 1-0 series-clinching win marked UF’s first shutout of UM since 2004.

Sunday: Tied 2-2 heading into the sixth, the Gators rallied for three runs and eventually prevailed 5-3 over the Hurricanes. Freshman RHP Karsten Whitson took the hill for Florida but gave up seven hits and two earned runs while striking out four in five innings of work. Junior RHP Tommy Toledo (2-0) bridged the gap with two strikeouts in 2.2 shutout innings before DeSclafani (S1) eventually came on for the save opportunity in the ninth. Junior right fielder Preston Tucker (3-4, RBI, R) hit a solo shot to start off the sixth inning rally, and junior left fielder Daniel Pigott (1-4, 2 RBI) completed it with a two-run double. Florida also saw sterling offensive efforts from freshman 3B Zack Powers (2-4, RBI, R) and sophomore catcher Mike Zunino (0-2, 2 BB, 2 R).

UF, which has won 24-straight games at McKethan Stadium, looks to continue their winning ways next week with a pair of contests against Georgia Southern and USF as well as a three-game weekend series vs. Rhode Island.

Former UF track coach Jimmy Carnes dead at 76

Former Florida Gators track and field head coach Jimmy Carnes passed away Saturday. He was 76 years old.

Carnes, who coached at the University of Florida from 1965-76, lost a four-year battle with prostate cancer. He is survived by his wife and four children.

“Jimmy Carnes is an icon in the sport of track and field. His contributions to the University of Florida, as well as his sport on a national and international level, have been immeasurable,’’ Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley said in an official statement from the school. “Jimmy has been a great advocate of the sport of track and field and an outstanding citizen in the Gainesville community. Our thoughts go out to his wife, Nanette, and his family.”
Continue Reading » Former UF track coach Jimmy Carnes dead at 76

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

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.

CHOMPING: Billy Donovan has earned 2011 SEC Coach of the Year honors

The subtext of Tuesday’s de facto 2011 Southeastern Conference regular season title showdown between the No. 14 Florida Gators (23-6, 12-3 SEC) and Alabama Crimson Tide (19-10, 11-4 SEC) was the competition for SEC Coach of the Year between Florida head coach Billy Donovan and Alabama head coach Anthony Grant.

Yet while plenty has been said about Donovan having been snubbed for the honor on three previous occasions (2000, 2006, 2007), little has been mentioned about why his team’s accomplishments should earn him the award over Grant this season.
Continue Reading » CHOMPING: Billy Donovan has earned 2011 SEC Coach of the Year honors

Parsons reps SEC in Conference Voices Blog

For whatever reason, it was completely unknown to us that Florida Gators senior forward Chandler Parsons was one of six college basketball players who had been writing a monthly post for ESPN Insider’s Conference Voices Blog. Though we will not reprint the posts in their entirety for you, here are portions of each so far this season along with a link to the full article on ESPN Insider (subscription only).

11/19/10: Early-season tests key for Florida

We have an experienced team that’s been through that before so we know that it matters what you do off the court, whether you’re eating right, putting the right stuff in your body. I think as an older team we realize you can’t burn the candle at both ends. I love playing a tough nonconference schedule but when I was a freshman we had a very young team. Coach Donovan didn’t necessarily schedule the hardest teams because he wanted to get our feet wet. He wanted us to play at home and get used to college basketball. This year, it’s different because we have an older team. We have Florida State on the road, Kansas State, Xavier. I’m all for it, especially going on the road because it’s like playing in the tournament. You could be playing anywhere in the country. It’s good to play in some hostile locations, not just the hostile places in your conference.

12/18/10: K-State and the SEC slate

UCF is still undefeated. I wouldn’t say it was a bad loss — they’re a good team. Afterwards, with his comments I think Coach Donovan was worried about our offense — not making the best decision when the ball is in our hands, turning the ball over, not getting the best shot. He basically wants us to play unselfish and for the people with the ball to get the best available shot. Ever since that game, I think we learned a lot from that and I think we’ve grown in the last three or four games our defense has been really good. We’re more worried about our defense. We know we have enough offensive firepower to win games.

1/22/11: No easy outs in the SEC this season

I’m sure that Auburn game was brutal to look at, it was brutal to play in, too. We were able to get a win even though we shot 15-for-53, and I think that says a lot about the character of this team. We went on the road and won in their building with our defense. […]But for us within the conference, we understand that every game is going to be a war. We understand that even if Auburn is 0-and-4, going into their place is not going to be an easy game.

3/2/11: Chandler Parsons is healthy and thriving

My teammates are going after me. I’m starting to think they did it on purpose. But no, really, at first it was Vernon [Macklin] at Georgia with the towel and then Alex [Tyus]. You see that all the time, the bench gets hyped and we’re throwing towels around and his hit me where it wasn’t supposed to. And then with the knee, it was just me and Alex both going for the rebound and he just happened to hit me.

It was close to my hip, like on the outside of my thigh, and it caused some serious swelling in my leg. My left leg was twice as big as my right one. I couldn’t put any pressure on it and I was on crutches. My trainer, who’s been training for 30 years, says it’s the worst thigh contusion he’s ever seen. Right where I got hit was bruised, but the swelling went down to my knee. It was so black and blue. I’ve never had to be on crutches in my life before that.

 Page 461 of 699  « First  ... « 459  460  461  462  463 » ...  Last »