Top 10 for 2010: On the Field Moments of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators were in the news off the field in 2010, the Gator Nation was making plenty of headlines on it as well. From game-winning baskets to displays of pure emotion, Florida experienced some unique athletic moments in 2010. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 10 On the Field Moments of the Year.

OGGOA RELATED: Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

When Florida decided it wanted to start another women’s athletics program, the University Athletic Association did extensive research and found out that women’s lacrosse would be the perfect fit. In preparation for their first season, the Gators and head coach Amanda O’Leary secured the country’s No. 1 recruiting class (according to Inside Lacrosse Magazine). All the hard work and preparation to get the team ready paid off on Feb. 20 when lacrosse debuted in the brand new Donald R. Dizney Stadium to a boisterous crowd of 2,114 spectators. Florida defeated Jacksonville 16-6 behind four goals and four assists from freshman sensation Ashley Bruns. All-in-all the Gators faced 16 championship-caliber teams and played so well that they reached the 2010 ALC Tournament semifinals. In just their second year of existence, Florida women’s lacrosse is ranked as the No. 17 team in the country going into the 2011 season.

9 » NEAR VICTORIES/HEARTBREAKING LOSSES (5/25/10 * 3/18/10 * 10/9/10)

It is rare for teams to go undefeated and even less likely that an entire athletic program can go through a season without its share of close losses and nail biting finishes. Such was the case for the Gators in 2010. On May 25, No. 3 women’s tennis was barely defeated by the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal for the 2010 NCAA National Championship. Stanford won 4-3 after Florida rallied when they were just two individual games away from being defeated. The Gators forced third sets in two singles matches; sophomore Joanna Mather took down her opponent but senior No. 65 Marrit Boonstra was not as lucky. Losing her first set 6-4, Boonstra fought back to even her match with No. 33 Mallory Burdette by taking the second set 6-7 (4). Down 2-0 in the third, she pushed ahead with a valiant effort to take a 5-4 lead but ended up losing her final three games, the match itself and the championship.

Returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons, No. 10-seed Florida got in a bit easier than some might have expected. Matched up against the No. 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars in the event’s opening game, the Gators fought hard but could not stop Cougars star guard Jimmer Fredette. Allowing BYU to jump ahead 59-46 in the second half, UF came back behind freshman G Kenny Boynton and junior forward Chandler Parsons. Florida missed potential game-winners during regulation (Parsons) and the first overtime (Boynton) and eventually fell to Brigham Young 99-92 in a double-overtime heartbreaker with Fredette adding to his game-high 37 points.

Though losing a national championship and NCAA Tournament game are both difficult, Gators fans will probably look back on No. 12/14 Florida’s shocking loss to the No. 9/12 LSU Tigers on Oct. 10 as the worst near-victory of the season. Wearing orange jerseys for the first time since 1989, the Gators came back from a 12-point deficit when freshman wide receiver Andre Debose returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, sophomore running back Mike Gillislee rumbled in for a touchdown and redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley completed a two-point conversion to sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. to cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive. All Florida wanted when its defense came out was a stop, but LSU put together a 62-yard game-winning drive that included numerous third down conversions and a converted fake field goal attempt on fourth down from UF’s 36-yard line with 35 seconds remaining. Back-to-back passes to WR Terrence Toliver (of 28 and 3 yards, respectively) and the Tigers left The Swamp with a 33-29 victory. Players have noted that the loss was a negative turning point in the season, one that may or may not have led to the team dropping their third-straight game one week later at home to Mississippi State.

Continue Reading » Top 10 for 2010: On the Field Moments of the Year

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Gamecocks rally in second half to top Gators 77-71

Devan Downey may be the South Carolina Gamecocks‘ star player, but fellow senior guard Brandis Raley-Ross stole the show Wednesday night in Columbia, SC. Raley-Ross’ 17 second half points and four three-pointers led the Gamecocks (14-9, 5-4 SEC) to a comeback 77-71 home victory over the Florida Gators (17-7, 6-4 SEC).

Though Florida only missed seven shots in the first half and was shooting 68.2 percent to 37.8 percent for South Carolina, an astounding 12 turnovers (including five in the first 4:17 of the game) left them with only a four-point lead at halftime.

This trend would continue after the break, with the Gators surrendering three turnovers in the first 4:30 of the second half and a five more before the final buzzer sounded. The Gamecocks were stingy, only giving up six all night compared to UF’s season-high 20.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida at South Carolina game story after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gamecocks rally in second half to top Gators 77-71

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Gameday: Florida Gators at S. Carolina Gamecocks

Location: Colonial Life Arena – Columbia, SC [Capacity: 18,000]
Time: 8:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: SEC Network
Online Video: ESPN360
Live Updates: OGGOA on Twitter

Florida Gators South Carolina Gamecocks
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Darrin Horn
Record: 17-6, 5-3 SEC Record: 13-9, 4-4 SEC
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: South Carolina -1.5, O/U 138.5

» The dynamic backcourt of…sophomore point guard Erving Walker and freshman guard Kenny Boynton who are averaging and controlling the backcourt 31.0 points and 7.9 assists per game in conference play this season.
» Speaking of Walker and Boynton…they have hit 46 of the Gators’ 59 treys in SEC play.
» Junior forward Alex Tyus…who is dominating the front court, averaging 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds over the last 14 contests. He has hit double figures in 13 of 14 games and scored 15+ in eight of those.
» The triumvirate of Walker, Boynton and Tyus…is combining for 45.7 of Florida’s 71.9 points per game in SEC play (63.6 percent).
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 11-1 when the redshirt junior transfer center does so. He scored a career-high 20 points in Florida’s last game.
» Gamecocks senior guard Devan Downey leads his team in points (23.0) and assists (3.5) while averaging an amazing 30.9 points per game in conference play. He currently ranks first in the SEC in points, steals and free throws. Downey dominated the Gators with 36 points just a month ago.

» Florida leads the all-time series against South Carolina 36-20. The Gators have won the last two meetings and 20 of the last 24 in the series.
» Under head coach Billy Donovan, Florida is 20-9 against the Gamecocks; however, they lost 70-69 when they visited Colonial Life Arena in 2009.
» Over the last three seasons, no UF/USC game has been decided by more than four points, and nine of the last 11 meetings have been decided by six points or less.
» The Gators are 5-3 in games decided by five points or less compared to 4-6 in such games last season. Florida is 4-1 in the last five contests that were that close.
» UF is 6-0 in conference play when out-rebounding an opponent. The Gators have a +7.2 rebounding margin in their SEC wins and a -5.3 margin in all three losses.
» All five of Florida’s starters are averaging double-digits in points and are within 4.0 points of each other.
» South Carolina has a win over then-No. 1 Kentucky on its resume and is averaging 73.7 points per game on the season.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators at S. Carolina Gamecocks preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators at S. Carolina Gamecocks

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Parsons’ buzzer-beater propels UF over USC

Chants of “Chandler! Chandler! Chandler!” rang throughout the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Saturday night as a second game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer of the season by junior forward Chandler Parsons helped the Florida Gators (14-5, 3-2 SEC) pull off a last-second 58-56 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks (11-8, 2-3 SEC). Parsons, whose previous buzzer-beater came on a 75-foot shot against the N.C. State Wolfpack in overtime on Jan. 3, was similarly shutout from downtown (0-for-3) before hitting the clincher.

“After the shot, Dan [Werner] was heady enough to get the ball out fast and Erving [Walker] made a real unselfish play by finding me, and I was just fortunate enough to knock it down,” Parsons told ESPN after the game. “I’m a confident shooter. If I miss four or if I miss 10, I’m going to keep shooting the ball with the same amount of confidence.”

Read the Florida Gators vs. South Carolina Gamecocks game story after the jump!
Continue Reading » Parsons’ buzzer-beater propels UF over USC

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TWO BITS: …on the Gators vs. Gamecocks game

1 » Florida Gators (13-5, 2-2) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (11-7, 2-2) Pre-Game:
– Florida leads the all-time series 35-20, winning 19 of the last 23 meetings.
– Last season, the Gators and Gamecocks split the series; UF won 97-93 at home while USC took a 70-69 decision in Columbia, SC.
– Florida has won three straight vs. South Carolina in Gainesville and 10 of the last 11.
– Sophomore point guard Erving Walker and freshman guard Kenny Boynton are averaging 38.6 points (more than half of the team’s 76.8) and 7.8 assists per game in SEC play this season.
– Walker and Boynton are 29-for-34 from downtown; Walker is shooting 59.3 percent from three in the last four games and has combined with Boynton to hit 29-of-66 treys (43.9 percent). The rest of the team is struggling.
– After not having a 20-point game in his first 50 games with the Gators, Walker has had three in his last four outings including a career-high 27 points Thursday vs. Arkansas.
– Junior forward Alex Tyus is dominating the front court, averaging 14.3 points and 7.8 rebounds over the last nine contests. He has hit double figures in nine straight games and scored 15+ in five of those nine.
– Gamecocks senior guard Devan Downey, a first-team All-SEC selection, leads his team in points (21.2), assists (3.8) and steals (3.2). He is averaging 30.3 points in conference play and has scored 25 in all four SEC games with two 30-point outings.

2 » Dueling articles were posted by The Gainesville Sun and Florida Today on Walker and Downey, likely the premiere match-up of Saturday evening’s game. Kevin Brockaway explains that size isn’t everything when it comes to Walker and Downey while David Jones tells you that the teams’ little guards look to put up big numbers.

Extra Bit » Florida five-star safety commitment and early enrollee Matt Elam will be presented the state’s Mr. Football award during halftime of the game.

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