SIX BITS: Masters, Zunino, baseball, Elam, Horford

1 » A pair of Florida Gators will be competing at the 2013 Masters this week at Augusta National Golf Club, one of whom is a current University of Florida student and a member of the school’s golf team. Senior T.J. Vogel, a 22-year old amateur, will be playing in his first ever major and has decided to properly take in the moment. Over the weekend, he and his caddie arranged his schedule so he could “bump” into Tiger Woods during an early-morning tee time. “I basically ran into him and we talked for a few minutes,” he said according to the Orlando Sentinel. Vogel has been playing at Augusta as much as possible in preparation for the Masters and will get his big opportunity starting on Thursday. He will be joined in Augusta by former Gators golfer Brian Gay, who has played as a professional since 1994 and has four PGA Tour wins but has never finished better than 20th in a major (2008 PGA Championship).

2 » Former Florida catcher Mike Zunino, the highest-drafted baseball player in school history (No. 3 in the 2012 MLB Draft), is breaking out in a major way while playing minor league baseball for the Seattle Mariners. Currently assigned to the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A), Zunino is simply crushing the ball. On Tuesday night, Zunino smacked a grand slam and has now hit a homer in three-straight games. He has hit four home runs in five games and boasts a MiLB-high 16 RBI while batting .429 and slugging an absurd 1.238 with an on-base percentage of 1.696.

Read four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Masters, Zunino, baseball, Elam, Horford

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One night, two late game-winners for Gators

Florida women’s basketball was facing elimination from the 2013 Women’s NIT while Gators softball was about to fall to a heated rival when a late-game swish of the net and an extra-inning crack of the bat turned the fortunes of the respective teams in a pair of nail-biter situations Wednesday evening.

Though Florida women’s basketball did not receive an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, the Gators have been fighting for their lives on the road. After taking down Florida International 75-68 in first-round action last Thursday, UF earned a dominant 85-53 victory over Winthrop on Monday to advance to the WNIT round of 16.

On Wednesday, the Gators (21-14) took on the Charlotte 49ers (26-6) and were engaged in an absolute dogfight. Florida coughed up its lead with less than six minutes to play and found itself in a four-point hole with possession and 1:05 remaining.

Just 13 seconds into the possession, freshman guard January Miller drained a three-pointer with 52 seconds left to cut the Gators’ deficit to one. On the ensuing possession, freshman forward Christin Mercer swiped the ball from Charlotte’s Ny Hammonds and junior G Jaterra Bonds got fouled on a shot attempt.

At the line with a chance to go ahead by a point with 20 seconds remaining, Bonds made the first free throw but missed the second. Suddenly, senior F Jennifer George swooped in for the rebound and head coach Amanda Butler called a 30-second timeout with 15.6 seconds remaining.

Continue Reading » One night, two late game-winners for Gators

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FOUR BITS: softball, tennis, baseball, basketball

1 » No. 4 Florida Gators softball (23-1) continued its stellar start to the 2013 season by upending the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (22-1) on Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, AL. Florida handed Alabama its first loss of the season in the non-conference showdown (the game was scheduled outside of league play) by scoring six runs in the final two innings to turn a 4-2 deficit into an 8-4 victory. Junior right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers (11-1, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R [2 ER], 3 BB, 5 K) threw well but was victimized by a pair of untimely errors before leaving the contest. Sophomore RHP Lauren Haeger (1.0 IP, 2 BB, 4 K) replaced her in relief and ensured that the Gators maintained the advantage they gained early in the top of the seventh. A two-RBI double by freshman pinch hitter Taylore Fuller (1/2, 2 RBI) put Florida ahead in the seventh. Haeger (2/3, RBI, R, BB), senior right fielder Kelsey Horton (2/4, RBI, R) and junior third baseman Stephanie Tofft (2/4, RBI, R) each knocked in runs for the Gators.

2 » No. 5 Florida women’s tennis (8-2) bounced back from its tough loss on Sunday with a 4-0 sweep of the No. 16 Florida State Seminoles (8-3) on Wednesday in Tallahassee, FL. The Gators debuted some new doubles pairings in the contest after struggling to win the doubles point in recent matches. The switch worked out for Florida on Wednesday as it took the doubles point before running through singles action as No. 11 junior Sofie Oyen earned a 6-0, 6-1 victory, No. 1 Lauren Embree picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win, and No. 53 junior Alex Cercone took her match 6-4, 6-3. UF improved to 53-1 all-time against FSU, according to the school.

3 » Gators baseball (7-7) has fought hard over the last four games to get its record back to .500 after losing six-straight games from Feb. 20 to March 1. In a home-and-home series against the Jacksonville Dolphins (4-9) on Tuesday and Wednesday, Florida came from behind twice to pick up a pair of victories. On Tuesday, the Gators trailed 5-4 heading into the top of the seventh but scored four runs over the final three innings to pick up the 8-5 victory in Jacksonville, FL. Back at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday, Florida rallied to score two runs in the bottom of the ninth including a walk-off RBI single by sophomore PH Connor Mitchell (1/1, RBI) that brought home senior first baseman Vickash Ramjit (3/4, 2 R, BB), who was intentionally walked earlier in the wild frame. UF looks to extend its four-game winning streak this weekend when it hosts Indiana for a three-game series from Friday-Sunday.

4 » Nine-seed Gators women’s basketball (18-13) delivered in the first round of the 2013 SEC Tournament on Thursday, taking down the eight-seed Arkansas Razorbacks (18-12) to advance to the quarterfinals against one-seed Tennessee on Friday at noon. Florida pulled off the 64-59 victory by going on a game-ending 10-2 run to erase a three-point deficit late in the contest. Junior guard Jaterra Bonds scored a game-high 17 points (12 in the second half) by hitting 10-of-12 free throws; she made just 3-of-10 field goals. Freshman G Sydney Moss also struggled from the field (3-of-11) but was just as solid from the line, draining 7-of-8 attempts to finish with 13 points.

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12/5: Florida at Florida State post-game report

No. 5/6 Florida Gators basketball (7-0) thrashed the Florida State Seminoles (4-4) by 25 points on Wednesday in Tallahassee, FL. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared some of his thoughts after the game.

Also included in this special post-game report are animated GIFs and thoughts from former players on UF’s blowout victory over FSU.


» Florida has now won four-straight against Florida State, increasing its all-time record to 42-22 including 11-6 under Donovan and 5-3 in Tallahassee under Donovan. UF’s true seniors have never lost to FSU.
» The Gators swept the Seminoles in football, basketball and baseball (5-0) in the 2012 calendar year for the first time in school history.
» Florida has now held five of seven opponents to 49 points or fewer. The Gators have only given up 26 points or more in a single have twice in 14 halves.
» UF is 32-1 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» Florida had 15 assists on 27 baskets and outscored FSU in the paint 34-14.
» The Gators out-rebounded the Seminoles 34-26, forced 22 turnovers (for 32 points) and registered 14 steals.
» The 47 points scored by Florida State tied for the second fewest against Florida in series history. It is also the lowest point total FSU has registered at its home arena.
» Florida had a game-high 37-point lead during the game.


» Senior guard Kenny Boynton scored 14 points in the game and now has 1,690 for his career, passing Stacey Poole (1,678) for fifth on the school’s career scoring list. He led the Gators offensively despite going just 1-for-8 from downtown. Boynton is now 1-for-13 from three-point land over the last two games.
» Redshirt senior G Mike Rosario had his best offensive game of the season, matching Boynton with a game-high 14 points and doing so while going 2-for-4 from downtown and 6-for-10 from the field.
» Junior center Patric Young continued to display his improved energy, scoring 10 points and adding a game-high eight rebounds. He missed all three of his foul shots.
» Junior forward Erik Murphy (hip pointer) did not start but played quite well off the bench, scoring nine points and adding seven boards.
» Freshman G Michael Frazier II once again played exceptionally well in his reserve role. He scored 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting (2-for-3 from long range) and now has 31 points over the last two games.
» Junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin‘s defensive effort was noticable throughout the contest. He registered five steals, dropped five dimes and scored five points.
» Seminoles G Michael Snaer was held scoreless in the first half but finished the game with a team-high 10 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists.

Read what Donovan had to say and see much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » 12/5: Florida at Florida State post-game report

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Florida Gators basketball dominates FSU 72-47

The No. 5/6 Florida Gators entered the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, FL on Wednesday evening expecting a hard-fought game against an in-state rival. Instead, Florida (7-0) dominated the Florida State Seminoles (4-4) from start to finish, piling up a 20-point lead at the half and remaining undefeated following a 72-47 victory.

The Gators used a relentless defensive effort and efficient offensive game to pull away early and hold on for the win. UF forced 22 turnovers, scored 32 points off those turnovers and overwhelmed FSU in the paint, winning the rebounding battle 34-26 and outscoring the hosts 34-14 down low.

In a sloppy first half for both teams, Florida and Florida State exchanged runs with the Gators ending the first 20 minutes on top by a huge margin. UF opened up the game by scoring 10 straight to take a 12-2 lead, but FSU quickly responded with a 7-0 run to cut its deficit to 12-9.

The Seminoles found themselves on the wrong end of a 15-3 scoring stretch, and the Gators used a half-ending 7-0 run to take a 20-point lead into the break.

Florida opened up the second half with a 15-4 run that put it ahead 50-19. Minutes later, the Gators stretched that lead to a game-high 37 points and cruised to the finish.

Senior guards Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario led the way with 14 points each on a combined 10-of-22 shooting from the field. Junior center Patric Young chipped in 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Freshman G Michael Frazier II also hit double digits, scoring 12 points on 2-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc.

Though he was relegated to a bench role after missing practice this week with a hip pointer, junior forward Erik Murphy looked sharp when he was on the court and finished with nine points and seven boards.

UF shot 49.1 percent from the field, registering 14 steals on the evening and 15 assists on 27 made baskets. FSU’s 47 points matched its total in 2001, which marked the second-fewest points scored by the Seminoles in the history of the series.

Florida will return home to practice and prepare for its toughest test of the season, a 10 p.m. contest against Arizona in Tucson, AZ on Dec. 15. Next Saturday’s game will air live on ESPN nationally.


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Gameday: (5) Florida Gators at Florida State

Location: Donald L. Tucker Center – Tallahassee, FL [Capacity: 12,100]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

TV: ESPNU/ESPNUHD (Rich Hollenberg, Len Elmore)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: [Map] | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton
Record: 6-0 Record: 4-3
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -7 | O/U 136.5


» Florida is 41-22 all-time against Florida State and currently holds a three-game winning streak over its in-state rivals. UF is 10-6 against FSU under Donovan and 4-3 on the road in Tallahassee.
» Four of the Gators’ regular starters are averaging double figures.
» Florida has held four of its six opponents to 49 points or fewer. The Gators have only given up 26 points or more in a single half twice so far this campaign.
» UF dominated in its season opener, holding Alabama State to just nine first-half points and setting a school record in the shot clock era for fewest allowed in a half.
» Florida is 31-1 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» The Gators were just 3-5 against top-25 opponents last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams. UF is currently scheduled to take on seven top-25 opponents as part of the 2012-13 campaign and is already 1-0 in such games.
» Florida is second nationally in scoring defense (48.5 points), fourth in scoring margin (+25.3 points per game) and ninth in rebounding margin (+11.2 per game) and field goal percentage defense (.350).
» The Gators are second nationally in fouling, committing 12.5 per game, and 144th nationally in assists, dishing just 13.5 per game.
» The Seminoles have 10 players averaging double-digit minutes.
» Florida State is 126th nationally in scoring margin (+5.9 points per game) and 167th nationally in rebounding margin (+1.3 per game).
» FSU has three players scoring in double figures, all of whom also averaged 5.3 rebounds per game or more. Its top three long-range shooters all hit 41.9 percent or better from downtown.

Read the rest of the Florida-Florida State preview…more after the break!
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12/3: Donovan on Murphy (hip), FSU, Muschamp

With the No. 5/6 Florida Gators set to play their first rivalry game of the season against the Florida State Seminoles on Wednesday in Tallahassee, FL, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media Monday to discuss his team’s 6-0 start and how it has been playing so far this season.


Donovan revealed on Monday that starting senior forward Erik Murphy has not practiced since the Marquette game. Murphy apparently suffered a hip pointer that has been bothering him so much that he is now questionable to play in Florida’s first rivalry game of the season on the road at Florida State.

“Murphy’s been out right now. He has not practiced since the Marquette game. What his status will be on Wednesday, I’m not sure,” Donovan said. “He’s not practicing [Monday]. He has a bad hip pointer. … Erik, based on what he’s able to do [Tuesday], if anything, may have something to do with starting lineups.”

Junior F Will Yeguete, who has been starting at the three all season long, said Murphy is in a tough spot. “I talked to him. He’s a little sore still. He doesn’t really know what to do about it. He’s got to let his body heal. He’ll keep stretching and doing some treatments; those are the only things he can do,” he said.

Should Murphy miss the game or be limited in his minutes, Donovan could move Yeguete back down to the four and roll with a three-guard starting lineup. Redshirt senior G Mike Rosario said he does not think that would be much of a problem because of how much adversity the Gators have faced depth-wise this season.

“I feel like Will can give us some good minutes at that spot. I feel like everyone’s prepared. We went without a couple guys during the season already, so now we know how to do it,” he said.

Also likely to return to the starting five is junior center Patric Young, who was demoted to a bench role last week against Marquette after having a bad attitude during practice. Young rebounded with his best game of the season and has supposedly learned a lesson from the entire situation.

“Patric, I think, has responded very well. I’m really happy with the way he’s responded not only in the game; he’s responded well in practice,” Donovan said. “He’s responded well. That’s what he needs to do. He practiced very well [Sunday] and it impacted our team in a very positive way.”

Read the rest of this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » 12/3: Donovan on Murphy (hip), FSU, Muschamp

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SIX BITS: Muschamp, Tebow, Parsons, Horford

1 » Yahoo! Sports took a closer look at the Florida Gators football program that has been remade this season under head coach Will Muschamp. As part of the feature, a couple of players described how fractured the team had become under Urban Meyer. “Toward the end of Coach Meyer’s time here, a lot of guys were out for themselves – not buying into the team concept,” redshirt senior defensive tackle Omar Hunter explained. “He was out for himself, so they thought the same thing. … Guys were showing up late for practice and workouts. Guys were supposed to be back on Sunday and didn’t get back until Monday. There was no discipline.” Muschamp also discussed his recruiting philosophy in the piece. “I’ll turn my back on a five-star guy if he isn’t a good guy,” he said. “I have zero reservations about that. Zero reservations. … I’m the recruiting coordinator here. You’re not a good guy, you go somewhere else. We’ll play you. We’ll beat you.”

2 » The New York Jets will face Arizona on Sunday, three weeks after quarterback Tim Tebow fractured his ribs in a game. Though Tebow has been dressed for each of the last two game and even played two weeks ago, he missed last week’s contest. Head coach Rex Ryan on Wednesday said Tebow will again be cleared to play on Sunday. Whether or not he actually steps on the field remains to be seen.

3 » Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, off to a great start in his sophomore NBA season, missed Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma City and is undergoing an MRI on his right shoulder on Thursday. The MRI is believed to be precautionary, and he is expected to return on Saturday if he is cleared by team doctors as expected.

Be sure to check out three more BITS after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Muschamp, Tebow, Parsons, Horford

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