A replica of its last few contests, No. 9/10 Florida Gators (13-2, 3-0 SEC) kept Thursday evening’s road contest against the Texas A&M Aggies (12-4, 2-1 SEC) close in the beginning before eventually pulling away and registering a dominant 68-47 victory at Reed Arena in College Station, TX.
The trio of redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario, senior forward Erik Murphy and junior center Patric Young led the way for the Gators with impressive performances.
Rosario led all scorers by posting 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting (4-of-7 from three) to go along with three assists and two rebounds. Murphy chipped in 16 points and seven rebounds while going 6-for-10 from the floor and 2-for-5 from downtown. Young flexed his muscles with 18 points and seven boards while going 7-of-9 from inside the paint and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe.
Rosario got Florida off to a quick start, scoring 11 of his team’s first 13 points as UF took an early four-point lead on TAMU with five assists on its first five baskets. A 5-0 run by Texas A&M gave it back the lead at 14-13, but the momentum would not last long for the home team.
The Gators exploded over the final 8:57 of the first half, outscoring the Aggies 22-4 and ending the opening 20 minutes on a 14-0 run to take a huge 35-18 lead at the break.
Florida increased its lead to 21 with four-straight points to open the second half before Texas A&M finally got on the board again after a 9:13 scoring drought.
The Aggies’ were unable to get back in the game as the Gators continued expanding on their lead while playing sound defense to keep their hosts at bay.
UF outshot TAMU from the field (.500-.340), from downtown (.350-.300) and from the free throw line (.846-.714). The visitors registered 16 assists on 25 made baskets and forced 16 turnovers including nine steals while only coughing up the ball 10 times.
Texas A&M leading scorer, G Elston Turner, was kept in check by junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin. Turner, who scored 40 points against Kentucky last Saturday, went 1-for-10 from the floor and 0-for-4 from downtown to score just four points in the game.
Florida returns home on Saturday to host Missouri in a showdown of the top two teams in the SEC. The game will air live at 2 p.m. on ESPN and could also represent head coach Billy Donovan’s 400th win in the Orange and Blue.
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