Fastbreak: No. 13 Florida routs Savannah State

Updated at 11:55 p.m.

The No. 13 Florida Gators (10-2) ended 2013 with a bang, routing the Savannah State Tigers (2-11) on Sunday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Florida won 76-34, outscoring Savannah State by nearly 20 points in each half of the game as it cruised to a victory.

OnlyGators.com breaks down the Gators’ 10th win with The Fastbreak.

It was over when: Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier II drilled a three-pointer with 10:15 left in the first half, extending the home team’s lead to 12 while kicking off a 14-0 run that lasted more than eight minutes and put the game out of reach. Frazier hit three of his five triples for 11 points, adding four boards, two blocks and a steal. He also committed four turnovers.

Prominent player: Senior center Patric Young scored a team-high 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting while grabbing six boards, blocking two shots and swiping two steals. Midway through the second half, Young became the 50th Gators player to eclipse 1,000 career points. He actually scored four-straight points to jump to 1,003 for his career and left the court to a standing ovation from the home crowd.

Standout stats: Florida dominated most phases of the game, but UF’s tough defense forced 20 turnovers on Sunday. The Gators also continued to struggle from the charity stripe, going 19-for-32 and hitting just 59.4 percent of their free passes.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak after the, well, break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 13 Florida routs Savannah State

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Florida vs. Savannah State preview: point guards improve, Young’s milestone, Walker’s status

(13) FLORIDA GATORS SAVANNAH ST. TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Horace Broadnax
Record: 9-2 Record: 2-10
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

TV: FOX Sports Florida (Dave Neal, Larry Conley)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Odds: OFF

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 2-0 all-time against Savannah State with the Gators most recently defeating the Tigers 58-40 just last season.
» UF is playing its first game at home in 19 days.
» The Gators are 62-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 4-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» Florida has won 22-straight non-conference games in the O’Dome and 21 consecutive home games overall, the second-longest streak in school history.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

The Gators are healthier than they’ve been all season and will have two extra bodies in practice during SEC play thanks to the addition of redshirt sophomore transfer Alex Murphy (who Florida announced will wear No. 31).

But the best way the Gators can improve immediately is to get more cohesive play from their point guards – senior Scottie Wilbekin and freshman Kasey Hill. Not only have suspensions (Wilbekin) and ankle injuries (both) kept Wilbekin and Hill from playing together, the ball-handlers also had limited time to practice together prior to last week.

“I think our chemistry can get a lot better,” said Hill on Saturday. “We’re going to start practicing a lot together. We haven’t really been on the floor much together [due to injuries], but I think it’s going to get a lot better.”

Continue Reading » Florida vs. Savannah State preview: point guards improve, Young’s milestone, Walker’s status

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2012 NCAA Tournament: (7) Florida vs. (15) NSU

Location: CenturyLink Center – Omaha, NE [Capacity: 17,260]
Time: 6:10 p.m. (ET)

TV: TNT/TNTHD
SiriusXM: 94
Online Video: TNT.tv
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

(7) FLORIDA GATORS (15) NORFOLK ST. SPARTANS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Anthony Evans
Record: 24-10 Record: 26-9
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -14; O/U 144

KNOW THE OPPONENT

No. 15-seed Norfolk State, currently on an eight-game winning streak dating back to Feb. 20, won the MEAC Tournament and earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament – both for the first time in school history. NSU also became just the fifth 15-seed to upset a No. 2-seed by taking down Missouri 86-84 on Friday to advance to the third round. The Spartans flashed their talent throughout the season as well, proving that they were a team to be reckoned with after falling by just two points to then-No. 17 Marquette on Nov. 21. Center Kyle O’Quinn, the MEAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, is Norfolk State’s leader in points (16.2), rebounds (10.5) and field goal percentage (.585) while also playing a team-high 31.5 minutes per game. The Spartans have two other double-digit scorers in guard/forward Chris McEachin (13.0) and G Pendarvis Williams (12.1), each of whom shoots well from beyond the arc, but no other player on the team posts more than 6.9 points per game.

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida is making its 15th NCAA Tournament appearance all-time and 12th under Donovan. The Gators are 30-12 all time in the event (26-9 under Donovan) with two national titles in three championship game appearances and four trips to the Final Four. The team is hoping to earn its seventh Sweet 16 appearance with a victory on Sunday.
» Norfolk State is making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning its first MEAC Tournament title in school history.
» UF is 22-0 all-time against MEAC teams (20-0 under Donovan) and has never faced NSU in men’s basketball.
» Florida has made a three in 685 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 1992.
» The Gators have registered a school record and nation-high in three-pointers this season with 332 over 34 games; the 9.8 treys per game is No. 1 in the country.
» All five of UF’s normal starters are averaging 10.4 points per game or more.
» Florida is 18-2 (two losses to Kentucky) this year when posting a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and are just 6-8 when the margin is even or negative.
» The Gators are 238-39 since 1998-99 when recording 15 or more assists in a game and 289-37 since 1988-89 when holding opponents under 70 points.
» UF is 6-6 against the NCAA Tournament field with four losses coming against No. 1 seeds (Kentucky, Syracuse) and one to a No. 2 seed (Ohio State). Conversely, NSU is 2-2 against the same field with two losses to No. 3-seed Marquette and victories over No. 2-seed Missouri and Long Island.

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Basketball improves to 7-0 with win over Rattlers

No. 13/17 Florida Gators basketball (7-0) allowed the Florida A&M Rattlers (0-8) to get off to a hot start but pulled away in the second half to win 80-59 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Tuesday night. Senior forward Dan Werner led the Gators with one of the best games of his career, scoring a team-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting (4-of-6 from three) and a team-high nine rebounds in the contest (though he had five turnovers). Four Florida players finished the game in double figures including junior F Alex Tyus (15), redshirt junior transfer center Vernon Macklin (14) and sophomore point guard Erving Walker (10).

The Rattlers shot almost 49 percent from the field in the first half, taking advantage of sloppy defense and keeping the Gators’ lead within four points at halftime. Florida pulled away immediately after the break with a 23-4 run to start the second half. They never looked back, shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc.

“Between turnovers, quick shots and some defensive lapses, we didn’t play well for about 20 minutes – and played pretty well for about 20 minutes,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “I thought our patience on the offensive end, especially in transition with some of the passes we tried to make, it was almost like we diffused our own energy with some of the decisions we made when we had a chance to get on a roll.”

Sophomore guard/forward Ray Shipman started the game over prized freshman Kenny Boynton, though Donovan did not provide a reason for the switch. Shipman took advantage of the opportunity and recorded a team-high four steals with six points while Boynton went 0-for-7 from the field; however, the freshman did dish out a career-high nine assists and earned two steals by playing hard all night.

Macklin, who also finished with seven rebounds, was able to use his size and strength to his advantage all night. He dominated Florida A&M with dunks, finger rolls and post moves, even throwing up a double clutch layup that got the Rowdy Reptiles excited. All ten Gators who saw court time scored, including Israeli freshman PG Rod Tishman who put up the first points of his career on two free throws.

Florida basketball improved to 11-0 all-time against the Rattlers and are 29-0 against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Gators will take a short trip to Jacksonville, FL, on Friday for their next game against the Jacksonville Dolphins (0-4) at 7 p.m.

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