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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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.

Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Florida routs Jacksonville 79-34

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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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Fastbreak: Florida drops Texas Southern 75-50

Florida Gators basketball (5-4) broke .500 with a wire-to-wire 75-50 victory over the Texas Southern Tigers (1-7) on Friday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

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

It was over when / significant stretch: Following an 8-0 run by Texas Southern that cut Florida’s lead to 13 with 13:18 remaining, Gators redshirt junior guard Eli Carter banged in a three to kick off an 8-0 response that put UF back ahead by 19 midway through the second half. Florida cruised from there, at one point extending its advantage to 25 points with three minutes to play. Carter only played 14 minutes but finished 2-for-3 with six points and two rebounds.

Prominent players: Freshman forward Devin Robinson appears to be putting things together after being a black hole and air-ball gifter through the first seven games of his young career. Robinson scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, hitting 2-of-3 threes and all three of his free throws. He also added four boards but committed four fouls as well. Sophomore F Chris Walker also shined for Florida, notching 12 points and a career-high four blocks in 16 minutes.

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Donovan: Carter to play vs. Texas Southern; Frazier must lead, Hill must push Gators

Florida Gators basketball (4-4) is back at .500 and hopes to get into the black on Friday evening when it hosts the Texas Southern Tigers (1-6) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The game will tip at 7 p.m.

Head coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Thursday (as well as after Monday’s game) to discuss his remaining concerns about his team and update the Gators’ injuries.

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: SEC Network (Tom Hart, Darrin Horn)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 93/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network Affiliates

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS TEXAS SOUTHERN TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mike Davis
Record: 4-4 Record: 1-6
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southwestern Athletic

Odds: Florida -26 | O/U 127.5

Continue Reading » Donovan: Carter to play vs. Texas Southern; Frazier must lead, Hill must push Gators

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Fastbreak: Yale fails at Florida, Gators win 85-47

Florida Gators basketball (4-4) got back to .500 on the season in dominating fashion, obliterating the Yale Bulldogs (8-3) on Monday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida beat Yale 85-47 and held a 49-point lead during the contest, winning both halves with ease while potentially turning a corner after a rough start to the season.

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

It was over when/significant stretch: The second half began. Already leading by 26 coming out of the break, Florida extended its advantage to 35 with an 11-2 run to open the latter period. A pair of threes from redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith, plus another from junior guard Michael Frazier II, gave UF its large advantage, which it would be expanded to 49 with 7:14 to play.

First half focus: Combining a pair of long runs, Florida broke out of the doldrums with a 24-8 scoring stretch over the final 7:21 of the first 20 minutes to lead 46-20 at the break. Frazier was 6-for-8 from the field and 3-for-5 from downtown for 15 points in the opening period, while redshirt senior forward Jacob Kurtz was 4-for-4 for eight points of his own. UF started 2-of-8 from the floor but made 19 of its final 24 shots.

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Donovan: Gators are ‘not heavy lifters right now’

Florida Gators basketball (3-4) is below .500 through seven games for the first time since 1998 and hopes to avoid hitting the even mark at home when it hosts the Yale Bulldogs (8-2) on Monday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Head coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Sunday to discuss his remaining concerns about the Florida basketball team and update the Gators’ injuries.

NOT HEAVY LIFTERS

When the moment gets too big, when the game gets too close, Florida has – for the most part – crumbled during the early portion of this season. That’s the only way to describe the Gators giving up an 18-point, second-half lead on the road against the Jayhawks with Kansas using an incredible 23-3 run to retake the lead at home and hold on for the victory.

Donovan believes Florida’s biggest issue remains the players’ inexperience. Yes, the Gators have some veterans on the roster in redshirt senior center Jon Horford, redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith and junior guard Michael Frazier II (plus redshirt junior G Eli Carter, who remains out with a foot injury), but none of those players has ever been counted on to play starters’ minutes on a consistent basis with all the pressure squarely on their shoulders.

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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.

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

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