Fastbreak: Florida Gators power way to tough 72-70 win over Oklahoma State

Florida Gators basketball (7-3) avoided a three-game losing streak with a thin 72-70 victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-4) on Saturday evening in the 2015 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

Having previously lost to the three best teams it faced this season, Florida earned an important win over an Oklahoma State team that, while it may not be to the level of UF’s previous opponents, is still a Power Five conference squad. The Gators showed improvement offensively and are now 15-2 all-time in the OBBC with six-straight victories.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s win with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: Despite leading by 10 with less than seven minutes to play (see below), Florida allowed Oklahoma State to jump right back in the contest as the Cowboys began hacking Gators redshirt sophomore center John Egbunu, who went 1-for-4 from the charity stripe down the stretch and finished 2-of-9 from the line for the game. A late OSU trey cut UF’s lead to two with a couple seconds left before an inbounds ended the game.

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Gameday – Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma State: What to know, how to watch live, game picks

Florida Gators basketball has struggled against the three ranked teams it faced this season but will visit a friendly venue Saturday when it takes on the Oklahoma State Cowboys at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

Here’s a look ahead at the game: what to know and how to watch Florida-Oklahoma State in the 2015 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

Viewing information

Event: 2015 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BB&T Center – Sunrise, Florida [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

TV: Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher, Bob Wenzel, Jessica Blaylock)
Streaming Video: Fox Sports Go
Mobile Video: Fox Sports Go app (iPhone) / (Android)
SiriusXM: 132/192 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

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Florida Gators basketball to participate in 2016 AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando

With renovations to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center forcing Florida Gators basketball out of Gainesville, Florida, for the vast majority of its 2016-17 nonconference slate, the team has been looking for options to play as many games as possible within the state.

As such, Florida has agreed to play in the 2016 AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando.

Gators executive associate athletic director Mike Hill told OnlyGators.com recently that while Florida will participate in the event, the remainder of the “dynamite” field is not set as of press time.

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Florida basketball announces 2015-16 non-conference schedule, including Michigan State

Florida Gators basketball on Tuesday officially announced its 2015-16 nonconference schedule, which includes a long-rumored but previously unannounced road game against Michigan State.

The two programs have agreed to a home-and-home series with the Spartans scheduled to take a trip to face the Gators in Gainesville during the 2017-18 campaign, one year after Florida’s $60 million renovation of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center will be completed.

UF is 3-3 all-time against MSU, famously falling to Tom Izzo’s team during the 2000 NCAA National Championship, the program’s only title-game loss.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since we played Florida in the national championship game,” Izzo said in a school release. “To be able to mark the 15th anniversary with a game against the Gators is a special opportunity.”

The programs will actually square off three times in a four-year period with Florida and Michigan State also scheduled to play as part of a four-team barnstorming event set for major cities across the country in the 2018-19 season.

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4 BITS: Florida Gators to take on Oklahoma State in 2015 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic

1 » Florida Gators basketball was previously announced to be participating in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic for the 15th time in the last 16 seasons, but its opponent for the 2015 event was not announced until earlier this week. Florida will take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second game of the event, which will be led off with a showdown between Florida State and Florida Atlantic. UF is 2-0 all-time against OSU with the schools not meeting since 2000. The Gators are 14-2 all-time in the event, which will be held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, on Dec. 19.

The rest of Florida’s announced 2015-16 nonconference slate includes a season opener against Navy in the 2015 Veterans Classic on Friday, Nov. 13 in Annapolis Maryland, and a spot in the 2015 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The latter event includes two home games (North Carolina A&T – Nov. 16, Vermont – Nov. 25) and two neutral-site contests (Saint Joseph’s – Nov. 21, Old Dominion/Purdue – Nov. 22). UF will also play at Miami in the second game of a home-and-home series, and it will host West Virginia on Jan. 30, 2016 in the third annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Reports out of Fort Myers have the Gators taking on FGCU on Nov. 27 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, and early offseason rumors noted that Florid and Michigan State were discussing a home-and-home series that could begin next season.

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Florida, Michigan State talking basketball series

Florida Gators and Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball are discussing a home-and-home series for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, according to ESPN.com.

The Gators – which originally planned a barnstorming tour of the state of Florida while a $60 million renovation to their home arena, the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, forced them out of Gainesville, Florida, for the spring 2015 semester – are now looking to rearrange their schedule and add some home games as the renovation has been postponed one year.

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Fastbreak: Florida upends Wake Forest 63-50

By Jordan McPherson – OnlyGators.com Contributor

Florida Gators basketball (7-4) won its fourth-straight game by taking down the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-6) on Saturday at the BB&T Center in the second game of the 2014 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, Florida.

UF led by nine at halftime with poor shooting from both sides keeping the game close throughout, but the Gators finished strong with a 17-5 run on their way to a 63-50 victory.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s action with 11 quick-hitters:

It was over when: After seeing the team struggle to score for most of the game, redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith hit a much-needed three-pointer and junior guard Michael Frazier II finished at the rim on back-to-back possessions to give Florida a 10-point lead with 3:37 left in the contest.

Significant stretch: Trailing 10-7 just six minutes into the game, the Gators went on a 15-0 run over 3:40 to jump ahead 22-10 with 10:12 remaining in the first half. UF hit 5-of-6 shots and all three of its attempts from beyond the arc during the run, taking a lead that it would hold for the remainder of the game.

Prominent player: For the second-straight game, Finney-Smith led the Gators in scoring, racking up 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting. He also paced Florida by hauling in six of the team’s 28 rebounds.

Dynamic debut: Redshirt sophomore F Alex Murphy, a transfer from Duke and the younger brother of former Gators F Erik Murphy, also made waves in his Florida debut. After sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, Murphy scored nine points on 2-of-4 shooting with a 5-for-6 mark from the charity stripe. He also recorded four assists as well as a pair of blocks and steals in 27 minutes.

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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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