The Fastbreak: LSU embarrasses Florida 79-61

Embarrassed at home by a team against which it held a six-game winning streak, the Florida Gators (10-8, 3-2 SEC) fell 79-61 to the LSU Tigers (14-4, 3-2 SEC) on Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida’s failures to execute defensively, coupled with its penchant for fouls and inability to sustain consistent offense, allowed LSU to lead most of the contest and earn a dominant victory against a team that has dominated it for much of this decade. The lost tied a 2010 game against Ohio State for UF’s worst defeat at home since 1998.

“I’m not surprised at all by any of this. I saw this back coming out of last season with the group of guys that were coming back,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “The veteran guys that were coming back, there was a lack of discipline in them. They struggle in that area. I’m not surprised by any of what’s going on. That’s been the challenge. I’ve tried a lot of different things with them. They’re going to have to, as much as I hate to say it, they’re going to have to go through it to figure it out.”

OnlyGators.com breaks down Tuesday’s action with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: Ending a five-minute stretch without a made field goal, the Gators pieced together an explosive 7-0 run with two layups and a three from junior guard Michael Frazier II to cut their deficit to 10 with 5:54 to play. The Tigers, however, answered back by scoring five-straight to push their lead back to 15 and held off the hosts from there, cruising to a road victory.

Significant stretch: Already leading by five, LSU used a 14-2 run aided by back-to-back threes and a pair of free throws to take a 66-49 lead on Florida midway through the second half. The Tigers had already taken eight free throws in the latter 20 minutes before entering the bonus at the 10-minute mark and used that advantage to hold onto its massive lead for the duration of the contest.

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Fastbreak: Florida takes down Auburn 75-55

Updated on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Florida Gators basketball (10-6, 3-0 SEC) continued its upward momentum by winning its third-straight in Southeastern Conference play with a 75-55 victory over the Auburn Tigers (9-7, 1-2 SEC) on Thursday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The win was Florida’s 21th consecutive regular-season victory in SEC play and 19th-straight home win against a league opponent dating back to Jan. 9, 2013.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Thursday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when: After seeing its lead cut in half from 20 to 10 due to a 10-0 Auburn run (see below), Florida scored six points on three-straight possessions in just 1:13 to increase its advantage to 16 points and hold on for the victory.

Significant stretches: The Gators opened the second half with a 10-3 scoring stretch, extending their advantage and taking a game-high 24-point lead on the Tigers. Spanning the half, Auburn went 9:53 without netting a field goal, allowing Florida to build on its 17-point halftime lead. AU would not be denied, however, turning three-straight UF turnovers into three-pointers with a 10-0 run that cut its deficit to 10 with five minutes to play.

“I think our team is getting better. We’re not there. There’s an immaturity, a lack of understanding,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “We’re up 19 points, we have three empty possessions and they make three-straight threes. All of a sudden the lead goes from 19 to 10 and they’re looking around like, ‘What happened?!’ They have no concept how quickly it can change.”

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Fastbreak: Florida Gators win second-straight, crush Mississippi State 72-47

Updated on Sunday at 4:45 p.m.

Florida Gators basketball (9-6, 2-0 SEC) continued its solid start to Southeastern Conference play by cruising to a 72-47 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-8, 0-2 SEC) on Saturday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The win was Florida’s 20th consecutive regular-season victory in SEC play and 18th-straight home win against a league opponent dating back to Jan. 9, 2013.

“They’re becoming more of a team,” Donovan said. “We are not going to be able to out-talent people, we’re not. We’ve got to become a really good team. It’s got to be a team that the sum is greater than its parts.”

Donovan added: “This team cannot play in a comfort zone. We’re not talented enough, we’re not deep enough, we’re not physical enough, we’re not strong enough. We need to play with incredible passion, desire and for each other and become a team. If we don’t do that, we’re below-average. I’m just saying, calling it like it is. They’ve got to do that. This has been a learning, growing process for them. Certainly I don’t want them dwelling on the past, we can’t get any of that back, it’s about going forward.”

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when / significant stretch: Already leading by 20, the Gators doubled up the Bulldogs 54-27 on the back of an 8-1 run including consecutive threes by redshirt juniors guard Eli Carter and forward Dorian Finney-Smith. The stretch eventually increased to 10-1 with UF’s lead jumping to 29 points midway through the half.

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Fastbreak: Gators falter late, again, as UConn tops Florida 63-59 in Gainesville

Florida Gators basketball (7-6) once again collapsed in the second half despite holding a double-digit lead, falling 63-59 to the UConn Huskies (7-5) on Saturday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Without a single signature non-conference win, the Gators are suddenly in serious danger of missing the 2015 NCAA Tournament as they enter Southeastern Conference play on Wednesday in need of a major turnaround.

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

It was over when: Trailing 57-56 with 39 seconds remaining, Florida redshirt sophomore forward Alex Murphy missed back-to-back free throws, and UConn extended its advantage with two free throws by guard Ryan Boatright. On the ensuing possession, Gators sophomore center Chris Walker went to the charity stripe to cut his team’s deficit but missed both of his attempts as well with the Huskies holding on from there.

Significant stretch: Florida opened the second half on a 7-0 run, extending its lead to a game-high 13 points. It would not last long, however, as UConn outscored its hosts 23-9 over an extended stretch, using a 10-0 run to take its first lead of the game at 54-53 with 5:36 to play. UF led for 31:59 in the contest but never re-took the lead once it slipped away.

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Former Gators commit, Stanford C Schuyler Rimmer, to transfer to Florida as walk-on

Updated on Jan. 7 at 10:20 a.m.

One-time Florida Gators 2013 commitment Schuyler Rimmer never wound up playing for the team out of high school, deciding six weeks after initially pledging to the program that he would reopen his recruitment.

It appears as if Rimmer has found a way to suit up for the Gators after all as he announced Sunday evening that he plans to transfer to Florida.

OnlyGators.com has confirmed that Rimmer will walk on to the UF basketball team, as first reported by ESPN.com‘s Jeff Borzello. He is expected to join the program in January as a mid-season transfer.

“So excited to continue my career at the University of Florida! It’s a great day to be a gator!” he wrote Sunday evening on his Twitter account.

Update: Rimmer was cleared to join the Gators during the first week of January and will be allowed to join practice on Thursday, Jan. 8.

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Florida G Brandone Francis cleared to practice

While most Florida Gators basketball players joined the team in the summer to train ahead of the 2014-15 season, freshman guard Brandone Francis was notably absent due to academic issues. He was eventually cleared to enroll at Florida, which he did on Aug. 24, but his grades did not meet the requirements needed for the NCAA to allow him to play college basketball with the Gators this season.

Head coach Billy Donovan noted this fall that Francis was doing well with his grades and could potentially be cleared to practice with Florida for the spring semester. That is exactly what happened on Friday when the Gators announced that Francis has passed through the NCAA Clearninghouse and is eligible to join the team for practice and other activities.

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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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Gators F Dorian Finney-Smith diagnosed with hairline fracture in non-shooting hand

Updated on Sunday at 11 p.m.

No. 7 Florida Gators basketball (1-0) may be without the reigning SEC Sixth Man of the Year for its Monday showdown with the Miami Hurricanes (1-0) as the program announced Saturday that redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith has been diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his left, non-shooting hand.

Finney-Smith suffered the injury – initially believed to be a sprain – early in Florida’s 68-45 win over William & Mary on Friday. After heading to the locker room for tests and a wrap, he returned to the court and led the Gators with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with five rebounds, a steal and an assist.

X-rays were done after the game, but the results were not released until Saturday. On Sunday, head coach Billy Donovan noted that Finney-Smith has “two hairline fractures on two fingers,” though the injury should not affect his ability to play if he feels up to it.

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