Wildcats outwork Gators for upset in Kansas City

A double-digit underdog without a top-25 victory yet this season, the Kansas State Wildcats (9-3) outworked the No. 8/9 Florida Gators (8-2) on both ends of the court on Saturday night as they pulled off an impressive 67-61 upset victory in a neutral site game at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO.

Kansas State completed its first non-conference win against a top-10 team since 1981 by dominating Florida on the boards (36-27) and holding the visitors to a paltry 26.3 shooting from beyond the arc.

The Wildcats also got plenty of help from their bench as reserves scored 21 of their 67 points. Though the Gators dominated paint scoring by posting 32 points including 19 from junior center Patric Young, KSU played solid post defense throughout the night and had C Jordan Henriquez finish with five blocks on the evening.

Young was 8-of-11 with 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season and was one of two UF players (junior forward Casey Prather) to foul out.

Tied at 14 with 10:51 remaining in the first half, Kansas State took it to Florida on both ends of the court. The Wildcats outscored the Gators 16-4 heading into halftime and jumped out to a 33-23 lead at the break.

Florida only connected on one field goal over the final 8:50 of the period, and the 33 points given up in the first half was the most UF has allowed so far this season.

It only took a few minutes for the Gators to get right back in the game. Florida opened up the second half on a 12-3 run to get within one of Kansas State and knotted the contest at 41 with 13:21 to play on a big three-pointer by senior guard Kenny Boynton.

The Wildcats did not waste time regaining their lead, putting together an 11-2 scoring stretch to retake a 10-point lead with five minutes left in the game. The Gators cut their deficit to five points on two free throws by Young with 2:14 left but were unable to pull closer than that as KSU held on for the big upset.

Kansas State guards Will Spradling and Rodney McGruder combined for 30 points and 12 rebounds. Each went 4-for-12 for the field but combined to make 11-of-14 free throws. KSU took 14 more attempts from the charity stripe than UF.

Boynton and junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin each added 11 points for Florida. Boynton’s cold streak continued as he went 4-for-11 from the field and 1-for-5 from downtown. He is 13-of-51 on field goals and 4-of-32 on threes over the last five games.

The Gators have now lost at least two non-conference games every year since 2006-07 and will likely fall out of the top 15 when the new top-25 polls are released on Monday.

Florida will play one more game before 2012 ends as it travels to Sunrise, FL to take on Air Force in the 2012 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic next Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

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Gameday: (8) Florida Gators vs. Kansas State

Location: Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO [Capacity: 18,000]
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

TV: ESPN2/ESPN2HD (Mitch Holthus, Fran Fraschilla)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

No. 8 FLORIDA GATORS KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bruce Weber
Record: 8-1 Record: 8-2
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -11 | O/U 128

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 1-0 all-time against Kansas State with the lone game played in 2010 in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL. UF is 18-12 all-time against current members of the Big 12.
» Four of the Gators’ regular starters are averaging double figures.
» Florida has held six of its seven opponents under 50 points.
» UF is 33-2 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 1-1 in such games.
» Florida is third nationally in scoring defense (50.4 points), eighth in scoring margin (+22.0 points), 12th in rebound margin (+10.8) and 14th in field goal percentage defense (.361).
» The Gators are seventh nationally in fouling, committing 13.0 per game, and 133rd nationally in assists, dishing just 13.6 per game.
» Kansas State is ranked third nationally in three-point defense (.225), 15th in scoring defense (56.1), 19th in rebound margin (+8.4) and 265th in field goal percentage (.408).
» The Wildcats only have two players scoring in double digits and two averaging more than five boards per contest.
» Only six Kansas State players have made a three this year. Of the four players that have shot more than 20, the best shooter is hitting 36.6 percent of his attempts.
» Saturday’s contest is a neutral site game in Kansas City, which is two hours east of Manhattan, KS. The 2010 game played in Sunrise was about four hours south of Gainesville, FL.
» Despite the picture above, UF will be wearing orange alternate jerseys in the game.

Read the rest of the Florida-Kansas State preview…more after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: (8) Florida Gators vs. Kansas State

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Florida elevated in Top 25 polls after big win

The Florida Gators (8-2) took a step forward in the latest ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls after defeating the then-No. 6/6 Kansas State Wildcats 57-44 at the 2010 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL, on Saturday.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 7 (1,153)No. 7 (568)-
2W 68-45 vs. William & Mary1-0No. 8 (1,127)No. 7 (560)-
3L 69-67 vs. Miami
W(OT) 61-56 vs. ULM
2-1No. 18 (467)No. 16 (303)-
4L(OT) 65-66 vs. Georgetown
W 56-47 vs. UAB
L 64-75 vs. North Carolina
3-3NR (40)No. 24 (60)-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Baylor, San Diego State, Villanova, Missouri, Georgetown, Illinois, Michigan State, Kentucky, Purdue, Brigham Young, Memphis, Minnesota, Louisville, UNLV, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas

This Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Villanova, Georgetown, Missouri, Kansas State, Michigan State, Purdue, Kentucky, Baylor, Minnesota, Memphis, Tennessee, Florida, Notre Dame, Illinois, Texas, Brigham Young, Texas A&M, Louisville

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Villanova, San Diego State, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan State, Georgetown, Brigham Young, Kentucky, Memphis, Purdue, Louisville, Minnesota, Texas, UNLV, Notre Dame, Texas A&M
+ Florida received 55 votes (good for No. 27)

This Week 1-25: Duke (64), Ohio State (1), Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Villanova, Missouri, Georgetown, Kansas State, Michigan State, Kentucky, Purdue, Baylor, Memphis, Minnesota, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Central Florida, Texas A&M

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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Gators shine in 57-44 win over No. 6 Wildcats

Saturday was a day of redemption for the No. 24 Florida Gators. Down 20-8 to the No. 6 Kansas State Wildcats late in the first half, head coach Billy Donovan’s team came back from their deficit with solid defense and efficient shooting to prevail 57-44 at the 2010 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL.

Florida (8-2), which improved to 8-2 all-time in the event, held Kansas State (9-2) to 27.3 percent team shooting and outscored them 37-21 in the second half for their most impressive victory of the season.

Things started off slow for both teams but especially for the Gators, who did not score until junior point guard Erving Walker drained a jumper eight minutes into the game. The Wildcats jumped ahead 20-8 on a three-pointer by guard Jacob Pullen with 9:05 remaining in the first half but went on a significant drought from that point forward.

Down 12 after Pullen’s trey, Florida went on a 12-3 run to end the half and added an 8-0 run coming out of the locker rooms to take a 28-23 lead. The Wildcats would reduce their deficit to three, but the Gators kept inching further and further ahead eventually going up a game-high 18 on two free throws by Walker with 2:38 left in the game.

Sophomore G Kenny Boynton, who played the first game of his college career near his hometown in Broward County, was named the contest’s Most Valuable Player after posting a team-high 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting (2-for-4 from downtown). He rebounded significantly from his last two games, in which he combined to go 3-of-21 from the field and 1-for-14 from beyond the arc.

Boynton started 0-2 and also missed two consecutive free throws.

Walker had his most impressive game of the season with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting while dishing three assists and only turning the ball over once. Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin was his consistent self with seven rebounds to go along with 10 points.

Playing major minutes off the bench were freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin, freshman C Patric Young and sophomore forward Erik Murphy Young grabbed two big rebounds and swatted the ball away twice, while Murphy scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting while notching four boards.

Florida’s senior Fs, Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus had juxtaposed performances. Parsons grabbed four rebounds, blocked three shots and scored seven points in 31 minutes, while Tyus played only 19 minutes and made one basket.

Pullen was Kansas State’s only effective scorer, but even he went 6-of-17 (1-for-17 from three) for a game-high 19 points. No other Wildcats player posted double-digit points and only two others (non-starters) made more than one basket.

UF out-shot KSU 53.5-27.3 percent and blocked five more shots but turned the ball over nine more times (17-8) and was out-rebounded 26-28.

Kansas State’s point total was their lowest in five seasons under head coach Frank Martin, and Florida played the best defense it has all season, holding a ranked opponent to under 50 points for the first time since 1968.

The Gators return to Gainesville, FL, to face Jacksonville on Monday at 1 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports (check your local listings).

Photo Credit: Jeffrey M. Boan/Associated Press

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No. 24 Florida Gators vs. No. 6 Kansas State

Event: Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BankAtlantic Center – Sunrise, FL [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FSN
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 24 FLORIDA GATORS No. 6 KANSAS ST. WILDCATS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Frank Martin
Record: 7-2 Record: 9-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Kansas State -1.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida is 7-2 when participating in the OBBC with their last loss coming to Richmond in 2009. The Gators’ previous loss in the event was in 1997.
» This is the first-ever meeting between Florida and Kansas State.
» The Gators are 12-9 all-time against current members of the Big 12. The team has earned a 2-1 mark in such games under Donovan.
» Florida has out-rebounded eight of nine opponents this season including their two losses. UF is averaging +7.3 rebounds per game more than their opposition.
»The Gators have forced 15.9 turnovers per game in their seven wins but only 8.5 per game in their two losses this season.
» Florida is 79-21 under Donovan in the month of December.
» Donovan needs just three victories to move into sole possession of third place in SEC history for most wins as an SEC head coach.
» Kansas State bests Florida in three of four major statistical categories nationally including points per game 76.2-70.9 (67th-161st), rebounds per game 42.4-36.8 (13th-132nd) and assists per game 15.3-14.3 (65th-108th). However, the Gators shoot better from the field than the Wildcats .482-.452 (33rd-100th).

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and junior point guard Erving Walker…a backcourt duo that has combined to average 24.2 points per game and has accounted for 33 of their team’s 48 three-pointers this season. Boynton, however, is struggling as of late after shooting a combined 3-21 (1-14 from downtown) over the last two contests for a total of seven points.
» Sophomore forward Erik Murphy…who is really coming on this season after only seeing the court sparingly as a freshman. Murphy has posted double-digit points three times and played more than 16 minutes in seven of nine games.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting 75 percent over the last three games and is becoming a force for Florida inside the paint.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who, after going scoreless against Central Florida, has gone 15-23 from the field over the last two contests for 34 points.
» Senior F Chandler Parsons…who is averaging 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and is an integral part to the Gators’ success.
» Freshman PG Scottie Wilbekin…who has posted a commendable 21-6 assist-to-turnover ratio while running the point in relief of Walker.
» Kansas State star G Jacob Pullen…who is averaging 16.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. Pullen has scored 18 points or more in half of his team’s games.
» Wildcats F Curtis Kelly…who is his team’s second-best scorer averaging 11.6 points along with 4.4 rebounds per game. Kelly missed KSU’s first three games of the season.

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12/16: Donovan discusses team, Kansas State

No. 24 Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes from his latest media availability in the following post.

TIME OFF A MUCH-NEEDED BREAK FOR FLORIDA

With their longest stretch off between games this season coming to a close, the Gators have been trying to improve while simultaneously studying for finals over the last week. Nevertheless, Donovan believes the time off has been a positive for the team, which has plenty to improve on through its first nine games this year.

“That’s been good for us,” he said. “It’s been pretty productive. We practiced on Sunday and Monday, took Tuesday off and then Wednesday was a pretty big day for our guys academically. It’s always a balance. There’s so much demand on them academically in terms of papers and finals and things like that. We were able to get some work done on things we need to. Practice time has been good for our team. We have been able to address and work on some things we need to improve on.”

What exactly has the team made adjustments to over the last week? “Offensively just our ability to move the ball, catch the ball, pass it,” Donovan said. “Being a little bit more cohesive on offense. Trying to take advantage of our personnel. We’re getting better in that area. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think we’ve made some positive strides.

“The last four games we’ve done a pretty good job in terms of field goal percentage, defense, the number of points allowed. I’d like to see us defend the three-point line a little bit better than we are, but we got better there. The next step is: Can we put it all together? Can we defend like we need to and can we execute offensively in terms of taking advantage the five guys on the floor – them making decisions to make the game easy for each other.”

SHOOTING ISSUES ARE CONCERNING BUT CORRECTABLE

As a team Florida has really struggled shooting from, well, all over the floor. Though everyone is having issues, no one is performing worse right now while putting up shots than sophomore guard Kenny Boynton. Donovan, though concerned with his recent performances, believes confidence is the way Boynton can improve.

“That’s a really hard thing. One of the things I try to do as a coach is give our guys confidence. The worst thing is when a guy has an open shot and is tentative. That’s a real hard thing,” he said. “I think Dan Werner a little bit last year went through that. He wasn’t really sure when to shoot, when not to shoot. And you’re trying to instill confidence and give that confidence. At the end of the day, when a guy is shooting the basketball, as much as I can tell them to shoot that basketball, ‘I believe in you,’ the confidence still has to be internally that they believe it’s going in. And I try to help in that area.

“Kenny, in the last couple of games, has played phenomenal. He’s played great floor game. He’s defended very well; he’s been a much better help defender. He’s helped on the backboard and obviously his assist-to-turnover ratio has been much better. When you focus on things that you can do and you have control over, you have a better chance of making shots.”

To his credit, Boynton is doing exactly what Donovan is asking him to do. “You just keep shooting until you know, one game, it gets on, and then everything else will fall in place,” he said. “Not really too much in my head. Other than [three-point range] I’m shooting the ball 50 percent from the field. I just got to find other ways to score.”

Read much, much more from Donovan and UF basketball…after the break!
Continue Reading » 12/16: Donovan discusses team, Kansas State

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Florida basketball’s 2010-11 non-conference slate

The Florida Gators officially announced the basketball team’s 2010-11 non-conference schedule on Tuesday. Previously reported by OGGOA the following premiere out-of-conference games have now been confirmed:

Nov. 16 vs. Ohio State (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 28 at Florida State (Tallahassee, FL)
Dec. 1 vs. Central Florida (Orlando, FL – Amway Center)
Dec. 18 vs. Kansas State (Sunrise, FL – BankAtlantic Center)
Dec. 31 vs. Xavier (Cincinnati, OH)

» And here are the rest:

Oct. 28 vs. Florida Tech (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 3 vs. Georgetown College (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 12 vs. UNC-Wilmington (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 18 vs. North Carolina A&T (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 21 vs. Morehead State (Gainesville, FL)
No. 23 vs. Florida Atlantic (Gainesville, FL)
Dec. 5 vs. American (Washington, D.C.)
Dec. 9 vs. Kent State (Gainesville, FL)
Dec. 20 vs. Jacksonville (Gainesville, FL)
Dec. 22 vs. Radford (Gainesville, FL)
Dec. 28 vs. Fairfield (Gainesville, FL)
Jan 3 vs. Rhode Island (Gainesville, FL)

» NOTES
Head coach Billy Donovan on the schedule: “I think we benefited last year from a challenging non-conference schedule and getting a couple of quality wins early in the season. We’re going to stay with the same scheduling philosophy and we’ve put together another competitive non-conference schedule.”
– Florida’s opener against Florida Tech on Oct. 28 is the earliest start in school history.
– UF will face UNC-W, OSU and NC A&T as part of the Global Sports Invitational.
– The Gators play in three more events during the regular season: the Florida Citrus Shootout with UCF, the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic against KSU and the BB&T Classic vs. American.

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Florida vs. Kansas State in Orange Bowl Classic

Adding to an already impressive out-of-conference schedule, Florida Gators basketball will be taking on the Kansas State Wildcats on Dec. 18 in the 2010 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. The two-game tournament played annually just before the new year at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL, usually features the Gators as the main attraction against an out-of-state opponent.

Florida is 7-2 all-time in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, falling 56-53 to Richmond on Dec. 19, 2009 – their first loss in the event since 1997. The Gators took a short break from the tournament but began competing again in 2006, winning their first three games.

Other important out-of-conference contests already on the slate for Florida in 2010-11 are the first game of a home-and-home series with Ohio State (in Gainesville, FL), the second game of a home-and-home series with Xavier (on the road) and an early season road meeting with against Florida State in Tallahassee, FL.

Previously, the Gators had scheduled somewhat easier opponents in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. Since returning to the tournament in 2006, Florida has faced Alabama-Birmingham, Temple, Winthrop and Richmond. Kansas State finished No. 7 in the final 2009-10 polls and ended the year with a 29-8 record.

This will be the first meeting between the two universities on the court, though “the contract states that a return game between the schools will be played at a neutral site in the 2012-13 season,” according to KSU.

Competing in the first game of the event are Miami and Central Florida, the latter of which is led by former Gators assistant coach Donnie Jones.

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