Fastbreak: Dorian Finney-Smith helps Florida scrape past Alabama 52-50

The Florida Gators‘ season was not saved on Tuesday night, but Florida (11-9, 4-3 SEC) did avoid blowing yet another double-digit lead as it inched its way past the Alabama Crimson Tide (13-7, 3-4 SEC) in the final seconds of the contest to pull out a 52-50 win at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The Gators, losers of three-straight games, avoided dropping four contests in a row for the first time since 2003-04 as head coach Billy Donovan improved to 10-0 all-time against the Crimson Tide.

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

It was over when: Alabama erased a five-point Florida lead as Ricky Tarrant drained a three (giving him 12 points in the half) with two minutes to play. Still tied with less than 30 seconds left, Gators redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith received a pass beyond the arc, pump faked and drove the lane to finish with a hammer dunk, putting UF up 52-50 with 22 seconds to play. It wound up being the game-winning basket for the Gators, as Finney-Smith delivered a block at the other end to negate a shot attempt and conclude the contest. “It was a little anger, I struggled tonight, but my teammates did a good job staying together when adversity came,” Finney-Smith told ESPN after the game. Added Donovan: “I thought he had a pretty decent look to take a three, it was probably a smart decision to drive it, obviously with the way it finished up. … It was good to see him go to the rim strong like that.”


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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs; Donovan still wanting more from Frazier, Hill

Location: Stegeman Coliseum – Augusta, Georgia [Capacity: 10,523]
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST

TV: CBS (Andre Catalon, Clark Kellogg)
Streaming Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app

SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 10-6 (3-0 SEC) Record: 10-5 (1-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: -2

HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series over Georgia 109-99 with a 26-10 record against its rival under Donovan’s leadership. UF is 10-7 under Donovan when playing UGA in Athens.
» The Gators were 86-10 over the last three seasons when holding opponents under 71 points in a game; UF is 9-5 this season when doing so.
» Florida has put forward 10 different starting lineups in 16 regular-season games. Overall, 10 players have started at least one game for UF this season.
» The Gators learned to win close games last season, going 15-2 in contests decided by single digits; Florida is 3-5 in such affairs this season.
» UF is on pace for 19.4 wins in the regular season while looking for its 17th consecutive season with 20+ victories. Florida’s 16-straight campaigns with that many wins is the longest streak in the SEC and fifth-longest nationally. Only eight coaches have ever won 20+ games in 14+ consecutive seasons.
» Earlier this season, Miami snapped Florida’s program-record 33-game home winning streak, which dated back to Nov. 11, 2012, and was the second-longest in the nation. The Canes also broke the Gators’ school-record 25-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents, which dated back to Dec. 22, 2010.
» Florida is on three program-record regular-season winning streaks – 21-straight games against SEC opponents overall (since Jan. 8, 2014) and 20-straight SEC games at home (since Jan. 9, 2013). UF has also won a school-record 10-in-a-row over SEC opponents on the road (since Jan. 11, 2014).

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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 slides by South Carolina 72-68

Florida Gators basketball (8-6, 1-0 SEC) bounced back from a tough end to its non-conference slate to earn a closer-than-it-should-have-been 72-68 victory over the surging South Carolina Gamecocks (9-4, 0-1 SEC) on Wednesday evening at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina.

“The thing that was encouraging to me was I felt like we battled and fought as a group, collectively together as a team. For me, that was a step in the right direction for this group,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the victory.

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

It was over when: Leading by five with less than a minute to play, redshirt senior forward Jacob Kurtz hit two clutch free throws to push Florida ahead by seven. South Carolina responded with a corner three by Mindaugas Kacinas to cut its deficit to four with 34.1 remaining, and Kacinas hit another trey – following two free throws from redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith – to make it a three-point game. Junior guard Michael Frazier II then stepped up to hit two free throws to increase his team’s lead to five only to see freshman point guard Chris Chiozza foul the Gamecocks on a made layup, cutting UF’s advantage to two with 6.4 seconds left. Redshirt junior G Eli Carter was the last Florida player at the line, solidifying his team’s lead at four points with two made free throws; Kacinas missed another triple attempt at the buzzer. The Gators went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe over the final 43 seconds.

Significant stretch: Struggling early in the second half, Florida took advantage of a seven-minute field goal drought for South Carolina with a 13-2 run started by a game-tying triple from Frazier. The Gators used a trey by Finney-Smith and three free throws to take a 54-46 lead with less than nine minutes to play. UF held on to that advantage for most of the remainder of the game.

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Fastbreak: Jacob Kurtz miscue sends Florida State to 65-63 victory over Florida Gators

Florida Gators basketball (7-5) saw its five-game winning streak over the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles (8-5) come to an end on Tuesday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida.

A miscue by one Florida player with less than a second to go cost the Gators a well-deserved overtime after they fought back from a five-point deficit with less than two minutes to play. The Seminoles triumphed 65-63 at home.

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

It was over when: With the game tied at 54, Florida missed three consecutive baskets down the stretch and Florida State guard Devon Bookert drained a dagger three-pointer with 1:29 remaining to push the Seminoles ahead of the Gators 59-54. However, Florida fought its way back to tie the contest at 63, ending a 9-3 stretch with an alley-oop layup by redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith. The Gators would eventually fall in the contest, however, as redshirt senior walk-on F Jacob Kurtz – hoping to corral an offensive rebound on a Seminoles miss with less than a second to play – accidentally tipped in an air-ball for what became FSU’s game-winning basket.

“I’ve been doing this for a long, long time, been in a lot of games, and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. My heart goes out to him because he really tried to make the right play. One of the things you worry about in that situation, with three seconds, is a quick shot and then obviously an opportunity for them to offensive rebound. I think he made an aggressive play,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game.

“I think that play is probably going to be talked about, but if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have been in the game. He did a lot of great things and even early in the game, when we got down, we put him in the game, the lead changed; the second half, the same thing happened. I feel bad the game ended like that. I told him he needs to move past that because he tried to make the right play.”

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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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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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