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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FOUR BITS: Florida tennis falls, lacrosse reigns, softball triumphs, gymnastics sets the tone

1 » No. 2 Florida Gators women’s tennis (3-1) lost its first match in more than a year as the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils (7-1) snapped the visitors’ 25-match winning streak (which dated back to Feb. 12, 2012) with a 4-0 sweep on Sunday in Durham, NC. Though the duo of senior Lauren Embree and junior Sofie Oyen took down Duke’s No. 7-ranked team of Mary Clayton and Ester Goldfeld 8-4, Florida eventually lost the doubles point when junior Alex Cercone/freshman Brianna Morgan lost a 6-4 lead and fell 7-6(7-3) in the third doubles match. The Gators responded by winning the first set on five-of-six singles courts. However, No. 9 Oyen was upset by No. 45 Goldfeld (6-4, 7-5) to put the Blue Devils up 3-0 and Duke picked up one additional singles win despite UF leading in all three of the matches that did not finish. Florida, which was pushed out of the top national ranking at the start of the week by new No. 1 North Carolina, will be in Chapel Hill, NC to face UNC on Monday at 2 p.m.

2 » No. 3 Gators lacrosse (3-0) has won its first three matches of the season for the first time in program history after taking down the High Point Panthers (1-1) on Sunday in High Point, NC. Florida, which picked up a 13-7 victory, was led by three goals apiece from sophomore midfielder Shannon Gilroy and senior attacker Caroline Chesterman. Senior A Kitty Cullen and sophomore M Nicole Graziano added two goals each. UF will host Stony Brook in the program’s home opener on Wednesday.

3 » No. 5 Gators softball (12-0) spent its first weekend of the 2013 season plowing through opponents out west in the Kajikawa Classic. One weekend later, the location changed but the game play remained the same as Florida trounced its competition in the Lipton Invitational at the friendly confines of Pressly Softball Stadium in Gainesville, FL. The Gators outscored their opponents by a combined 54-4 over six games in a three-day span. Florida beat the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks 10-0 on Friday and 9-1 on Sunday, shutout the Savannah State Tigers 12-0 on Friday and 14-0 on Sunday, took down the Western Carolina Catamounts 5-0 on Saturday, and squeaked past the Charleston Southern Buccaneers 4-3 on Sunday in an extra-inning affair.

Four Florida players led the way offensively with sophomore first baseman Lauren Haeger (7/15, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB) at the top of the pack. Also making big contributions were sophomore outfielder Jessica Damico (4/11, HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, SB), freshman second baseman Kelsey Stewart (8/20, HR, 4 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 7 SB) and freshman OF Kirsti Merritt (4/9, HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 SB – four games). A solo homer by Haeger in the bottom of the seventh on Sunday against Charleston Southern sent the game into extra innings, and Damico ended the contest in the bottom of the eighth as she tripled to score the final run of the game. Each of UF’s pitchers picked up a pair of wins over the weekend including Haeger (4-0, 11.0 IP, 5 H, ER, 2 BB, HBP, 15 K), sophomore right-handeder Alyssa Bache (3-0, 10.0 IP, 3 H, BB, 14 K) and junior RHP Hannah Rogers (4-0, 15.0 IP, 9 H, ER [3 R], 5 BB, 13 K).

4 » No. 1 Gators gymnastics (6-1, 5-1 SEC) once again proved why it is being labeled as the best team in the country as it came from behind to take down the No. 9 Georgia Gym Dogs (5-5-1, 3-1-1 SEC) on Saturday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd of 9,971 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, GA. Florida ousted Georgia 197.30-196.175 despite losing two team events (vault, uneven bars) and barely winning the floor exercise. A strong performance on the balance beam gave the Gators a significant 49.300-48.125 advantage over the GymDogs in the event, catapulting them to victory. Freshman Bridget Sloan picked up her third-straight all-around title with a 39.60 and also won bars with a 9.95.

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Patric Young’s double-double leads No. 7/8 Florida past Savannah State 58-40

Despite only shooting 30.8 percent in the first half and struggling to find an offensive rhythm early on, No. 7/8 Florida Gators basketball (4-0) played a complete game defensively in a 58-40 rout of the Savannah State Tigers (3-3) on Tuesday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Junior center Patric Young led the way for the Gators with his second double-double of the season, a 13-point, 11-rebound performance that was highlighted by a career-high six blocked shots. Young went 5-for-10 from the field as part of the the sixth double-double of his three-year career.

Florida opened up by scoring 15 of the first 17 points in the game but also started just 4-of-19 from the field. The Gators were much better offensively over the duration of the first half, hitting four of their last seven shots, but also slacked defensively during the final minute. UF was up 24-4 at one point but got outscored by six points over the final 3:12 and took a 14-point lead into the break.

Nine points on two treys and an old-fashioned three-point play by redshirt senior Mike Rosario, along with a triple from senior forward Erik Murphy, put Florida ahead 43-18 with 12:19 left in the game as part of a half-opening 15-4 run.

In the middle of the scoring stretch, senior G Kenny Boynton was called for a charge on a driving layup and landed awkwardly, rolling his left ankle and eventually being helped off the court before making his way back to the locker room. He returned to the bench minutes later but eventually found his way to the locker room a second time, limping once again as he walked off the bench.

“The only thing from the trainer was that he was capable of going back into the game. He suggested we hold him out,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “With an ankle sprain, you always find out a lot more the next morning to see how much it swells. Right now we don’t anticipate him missing any games, but we’ll see how he is in the morning.”

The Gators did not miss a beat, increasing their lead back to a game-high 25 points on multiple occasions and holding on for the big victory.

Rosario and Murphy joined Young by scoring in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. The duo combined to go 7-of-20 from the floor and 4-for-9 from downtown. Rosario added a team-high three assists and two steals, while Murphy contributed five rebounds, a block and two steals of his own.

Junior F Will Yeguete chipped in seven points and six boards.

Though Florida did shoot poorly (35.4 percent), its defense remained dominant, holding Savannah State to 34.8 percent from the field and forcing 20 turnovers in the process. The Gators did hit 6-of-14 attempts from beyond the arc but hit a paltry 18-of-28 tries from the free throw line.

Florida will play its third game in six days on Friday when UF hosts UCF on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

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