Fastbreak: Gators earn needed signature win as Florida obliterates No. 9 West Virginia 88-71

In desperate need of a signature win, Florida Gators basketball got just that on Saturday, defeating a top-10 opponent for the first time in 13 tries with a dominant 88-71 victory over the No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida (14-7) put together a dominant offensive performance for the second time in three games as it rained threes and was extremely efficient from the charity stripe. West Virginia (17-4) simply could not get back into the game after a hot start for the Gators.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s important win with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: Though Florida held the lead for 39:49 of the 40-minute contest and was up by nearly 20 late in the game, West Virginia had its opportunities to come back. It was not until a dagger three-pointer by sophomore guard Chris Chiozza with 2:35 to play that all hope was lost for the visitors. The Gators jumped ahead 84-67 and scored eight-straight points to earn a game-high 21-point advantage with 1:03 to play. Chiozza finished 4-of-8 from the field and 2-for-3 from downtown with 10 points, six assists and two steals, though he did cough up the ball a team-high six times.

Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Gators earn needed signature win as Florida obliterates No. 9 West Virginia 88-71

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Gameday – Big 12/SEC Challenge – Florida Gators vs. No. 9 West Virginia: How to watch, game picks

Florida Gators basketball has struggled against the best teams its faced this season. On Saturday, it faces its toughest test of the 2015-16 campaign (as well as its last nonconference game until a potential postseason run) when it hosts the No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers as part of the 2016 Big 12/SEC Challenge at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Here’s a look ahead at the game: what to know and how to watch Florida-West Virginia.

Viewing information

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 12 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN (Mark Jones, Kara Lawson)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com
Mobile Video: Watch ESPN app (iPhone) / (Android)
SiriusXM: 84 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Continue Reading » Gameday – Big 12/SEC Challenge – Florida Gators vs. No. 9 West Virginia: How to watch, game picks

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Florida Gators to host West Virginia on Jan. 30 in 2016 SEC/Big 12 Challenge

Florida Gators basketball’s 2015-16 non-conference schedule is taking shape after information was released on Thursday about its opponent for the third annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge. It was announced that Florida will host the West Virginia Mountaineers at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida, on Jan. 30, 2016.

Florida went head-to-head with Kansas during the first two incarnations of the challenge, going 1-1 against the Jayhawks. The Gators are 4-3 all-time against the Mountaineers with the teams not having played since the 2003-04 campaign.

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Fastbreak: Florida embarrassed in second half as No. 11 Kansas battles back to win 71-65

No. 24 Florida Gators basketball (3-4) absolutely collapsed in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, blowing an 18-point lead and falling 71-65 to the No. 11/11 Kansas Jayhawks (6-1) in the 2014 SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

The Gators are now under .500 through seven games for the first time since 1998.

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

It was over when: The biggest scoring stretch of the game – a 23-3 run with 18 points combined by Cliff Alexander and Wayne Selden Jr. – included four Florida turnovers and the visitors going 1-for-10 from the field; it lasted 7:53 and gave Kansas a 60-52 lead with 3:21 to play. Overall, the Jayhawks outscored the Gators by 21 points in the second half with UF at one point failing to hit a field goal for 7:37.

Significant stretches: With the Gators leading by a game-high 18 points, the Jayhawks got right back in the contest with a 9-0 run that cut KU’s deficit to single digits with about 14 minutes left in the game. It allowed Kansas to hang in long enough to end the game with its incredible scoring stretch as Florida melted down at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Gameday: No. 24 Florida Gators at #11 Kansas Jayhawks – Donovan talks team, previews KU


Event: 2014 SEC-Big 12 Challenge
Location: Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, Kansas [Capacity: 16,300]
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Jon Sciambi, Dick Vitale, Holly Rowe)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network Affiliates

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

No. 24 FLORIDA GATORS No. 11 KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bill Self
Record: 3-3 Record: 5-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12

Odds: Florida +8 | O/U 125

Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 24 Florida Gators at #11 Kansas Jayhawks – Donovan talks team, previews KU

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12/10: Florida vs. Kansas post-game report

The No. 19 Florida Gators (7-2) held on for hard-fought 67-61 victory over the No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks (6-3) on Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL in the final game of the Big 12-SEC Challenge despite facing heavy resistance from the visitors in the second half. Head coach Billy Donovan met with the media following the game to discuss Florida’s most notable victory of the young season.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is now 2-1 against Kansas under Donovan, though the Jayhawks still lead 3-2 in the all-time series against the Gators.
» UF improved to 5-4 against top 25-ranked opponents dating back to last season with all five wins coming inside the O’Dome.
» Florida has now won 22-straight non-conference games in the House of Horrors and 21 consecutive home games overall, the second-longest streak in school history.
» The Gators are now 61-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is already 3-2 in single-digit decisions this season after going 0-6 in contests decided by fewer than 10 points in 2012-13. Six of UF’s eight losses last year were by six points or less, a constant black mark on the campaign.
» Tuesday night’s game was sold out with a listed attendance of 12,423.
» Despite the Gators’ thrilling victory, the SEC had already lost the Big 12-SEC Challenge before the game even started. The Big 12 held a 6-2 advantage heading into Tuesday’s contest and now leads 6-3. Oklahoma and Texas A&M will play the final game of the challenge on Saturday, Dec. 21.
» According to The Gainesville Sun, UF and KU may have a return showdown next season in Lawrence, KS.
» About two dozen scouts were in attendance at the game.

DYNAMIC DUO

The Gators played their best half of the season in the first 20 minutes of Tuesday’s game, and it just so happened to be the first time that both of their point guards – senior Scottie Wilbekin and freshman Kasey Hill were able to play in the same rotation and on the court simultaneously.

Wilbekin posted a career-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 36 minutes but what he did elsewhere was even more impressive. He played lock down defense at times, much of it in the frontcourt (more on that below) while dishing six dimes and picking up four steals. It was quite a turnaround from his lackluster performance in the second half at UConn, a game in which he shot 6-of-14 and committed three costly turnovers.

“He always plays really hard. He gives me great effort all the time,” explained Donovan. “I didn’t think he played very well at UConn. He really, really struggled, had some turnovers late when we had a seven or eight-point lead, made some poor decisions, missed some shots. I thought he struggled in that game. I think having a week off and maybe missing a couple days and having three days to get ready for this game, I think he was eager to play well and knew that maybe the UConn game was a game that we had every opportunity to win and maybe it slipped away there a little bit from us at the end. I think, for him, he was pretty focused on wanting to come back and play better [Tuesday].”

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Fastbreak: Florida holds on to top Kansas 67-61

The No. 19 Florida Gators (7-2) scored their most prominent win of the young season on Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, holding on for a hard-fought 67-61 victory over the No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks (6-3) in the final game of the 2013 Big-12 SEC Challenge.

OnlyGators.com breaks down the Gators’ seventh win with The Fastbreak.

It was over when: Kansas committed its 24th turnover of the game with 45.3 seconds remaining, giving Florida the ball back with a six-point lead. Senior forward Casey Prather got fouled on the ensuing offensive possession, headed to the line and hit two free throws to put UF up eight with 37.1 seconds left. Though KU cut its deficit to four points, Prather hit 10-of-12 free throws in the second half to propel his team to victory. He scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high eight boards.

Prominent player: Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin was a firecracker for the Gators all night, playing superb basketball in the first half and seemingly finding a way to put the ball in the basket every time the Jayhawks threatened in the latter 20 minutes. He handled the rock like a dream and played terrific defense, too, finishing with a team-highs of six assists, four steals and, oh yeah, 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

Standout stat: Florida dominated all phases of the game in the first half, leading by 18 at one point and taking a 15-point advantage into the break. The Gators accomplished this by outrebounding their opponents 11-4 on the offensive glass. Florida also forced Kansas to commit 16 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, matching a season-high the visitors had registered in an entire game. KU fought back in the second half by “only” coughing it up eight times and grabbing four more offensive rebounds than UF.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak after the, well, break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Florida holds on to top Kansas 67-61

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Gameday: No. 19 Florida Gators vs. No. 13 Kansas

Event: Big 12/SEC Challenge
Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Shannon Spake)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(19) FLORIDA GATORS (13) KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bill Self
Record: 6-2 Record: 6-2
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -3 | O/U 138

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Buzzer beatings: Florida and Kansas each got handed tough losses in their last games as the Gators and Jayhawks both fell on buzzer beaters in a six-day span. UConn topped UF 65-64 on Monday, while Colorado beat KU 75-72.
» The Jayhawks are 3-1 in their all-time series against the Gators, but Florida is 1-1 against Kansas under Donovan.
» UF is 4-4 against top-25 ranked opponents dating back to last season with all four losses coming away from its home court.
» Florida has won 21-straight non-conference games in the O’Dome and 20 consecutive home games overall, the second-longest streak in school history.
» One-third of the Gators’ 2013-14 schedule thus far has been against top 25-ranked opponents. The Jayhawks are the third such team UF has faced this season.
» Florida is 60-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF’s defense has started off allowing just 60.0 points per game through eight contests, making it the stingiest in the SEC; no opponent has scored more than 69.
» The Gators have already used five different starting lineups through eight games. Only two players – seniors forward Casey Prather and center Patric Young – have started every contest thus far.
» Donovan is looking for his 16th consecutive 20-win season. Florida has him ranked sixth all-time in that category behind only Dean Smith, Lute Olson, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith and Jim Boeheim.
» Kansas assistant coach Norm Roberts was on Donovan’s staff during the 2011-12 season that resulted in the team advancing to the Elite Eight.

Read the rest of the Florida-Kansas gameday preview…after the break!

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