12/15: Florida at Arizona post-game report

No. 5 Florida Gators basketball (7-1) choked away a late six-point lead by committing three turnovers in the final minute and eventually fell 65-64 on the road to the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (8-0) on Wednesday in Tucson, AZ. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared some of his thoughts after the game.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida and Arizona are now even at 2-2 in the all-time series between the two teams with each of the last two games going down to the wire.
» Entering the game, the Gators had only given up 26 or more points in a single half twice in 14 halves. UF allowed the Wildcats to score 29 and 36 in the first and second half, respectively.
» Arizona outscored Florida 15-0 combined in the final 1:21 of the first half and 0:56 of the second half.
» The Gators are now 32-2 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» Florida outrebounded its hosts 34-26 overall and 14-8 on the offensive glass.
» The Wildcats shot 13 more free throws than the Gators (21-8) on the night.
» Florida led by a game-high 11 points in each half.
» The Gators have not defeated a top-10 opponent in a true road game since 2003 and have never taken down a top-10 non-conference opponent in a true road game.

PLAYER NOTES

» Senior guard Kenny Boynton had one of the worst performances of his career, going 2-for-10 from the field and 1-for-7 from downtown to finish with five points. He also missed his only free throw attempt on a one-and-one at the end of the game. Boynton has only made two of his last 20 three-point attempts over the last three games and is shooting a combined 8-of-33 in that span. He did make his 113th career start on Saturday, which tied him with Erving Walker for fifth on the school’s all-time list.
» Conversely, redshirt senior G Mike Rosario had one of the best games of his Gators career save for his two turnovers in the final minute. Rosario was 5-of-8 from the floor, made both of his threes and converted all four of his free throws on the way to a team-high 16 points. He also had a team-high four assists.
» Junior center Patric Young continued to display his improved energy, but only scored eight points, did not get to the free throw line and only grabbed two boards in 35 minutes on the court.
» Junior forward Erik Murphy (3-for-5) and junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (3-for-3) were also extremely efficient from downtown. The duo combined for 26 points on the evening. Murphy added seven rebounds, while Wilbekin contributed two dimes.
» Arizona G Nick Johnson made threes when it counted, going 3-for-4 from downtown for 15 points. Cohort Mark Lyons added 14 points for the Wildcats and hit the game-winning layup with seven seconds left in regulation.
» A game-high 18 points came from F Solomon Hill, who converted all six of his free throws attempts and made 5-of-9 shots from the field.

Read what Donovan had to say and see much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » 12/15: Florida at Arizona post-game report

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Late turnovers doom Florida in loss to Arizona

No. 5 Florida Gators basketball (7-1) blew a six-point lead with a less than a minute left to play, turning the ball over three times and allowing the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (8-0) to pull off a stunning 65-64 come-from-behind victory at the McKale Center in Tucson, AZ on Saturday evening.

Leading 64-58 following a three-pointer by junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, Florida had possession with 1:01 to play and was looking to throw the ball in when redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario committed the team’s first turnover.

Following two Arizona free throws and a timeout by head coach Billy Donovan, Rosario threw the ball out of play again while trying to force it to Wilbekin. The Wildcats capitalized on the Gators’ miscue by converting a layup, but UF still retained a two-point lead with 43 seconds left to play.

Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton was stripped while trying to dribble the ball up the court against the press on the very next possession. Arizona only converted one of two attempts from the charity stripe and fouled Boynton with 21 seconds left. Boynton missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Wildcats senior G Mark Lyons hit the go-ahead layup with seven seconds left to clinch the victory for the home team.

The Gators led most of the game but fell flat on their faces at the end of each half. Florida was outscored a combined 15-0 in the final 1:21 of the first half and final 0:56 of the second half, committing four turnovers and two shooting fouls in that time.

An early 9-0 run by the Gators allowed them to take a quick 14-7 lead. A few minutes later, Florida capped a 10-2 scoring stretch with a three-pointer by senior forward Erik Murphy to inflate that advantage to a game-high 11 points with 3:57 left to play.

The Wildcats, despite committing eight first-half turnovers, were able to get right back in the contest by closing the opening period on an 8-0 run over the final 1:21. Arizona ended the half behind 32-29 but had all of the momentum heading into the break.

UF was able to start the second half like the first, using an 8-2 run to take back its double-digit lead and extending it once again to 11 points with 10 minutes to play after Rosario drained a three from the corner.

It did not take long for UA to get right back in the contest as the Wildcats scored seven-straight points in just over a minute and eventually reduced their deficit to three with less than five minutes remaining. Arizona then took it to Florida over the final minute of the game to pull off the come-from-behind win.

The Gators and Wildcats each had three players score in double figures. Lyons (14), senior F Solomon Hill (18) and sophomore G Nick Johnson (15) led the way for Arizona, while Rosario (16), Murphy (15) and Wilbekin (11) put up most of Florida’s points.

UF’s trio was a combined 8-for-10 from beyond the arc, which made up for an overall lackluster performance by Boynton, who was just 2-for-10 from the field and 1-for-7 from downtown. Murphy (five), Boynton (three) and Rosario (three) turned the ball over plenty throughout the game but especially in the second half and the final minute.

Arizona took 21 foul shots on the evening, 13 more than Florida, which only put up eight in 40 minutes. The Gators won the rebounding battle 34-26.

Florida will be forced to put this game out of its collective mind as the Gators must turnaround and face Southeast Louisiana on Wednesday. The game will air live at 7 p.m. on Sun Sports (check your local listings).

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No. 12 Florida escapes Arizona 78-72 in overtime

It took five minutes longer than they probably hoped, but the No. 12 Florida Gators (6-2) came away from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday evening with a 78-72 victory over the Arizona Wildcats (6-3) in overtime.

Florida sophomore center Patric Young posted his third double-double of the season, scoring a career-high 25 points on 12-of-15 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds (six offensive). Gators senior point guard Erving Walker, who struggled from the floor in regulation, scored seven points in overtime and finished with 14 to go along with five assists and five turnovers.

Arizona jumped ahead to an early lead but was also sloppy at the start of the game, turning the ball over four times in the first four minutes of the contest. Junior forward Erik Murphy and redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario checked in for the first time less than five minutes into the game and each hit a three-pointer as part of a 12-2 run that gave Florida a 14-7 advantage and its first lead of the game.

Rosario wound up going 3-for-5 from downtown for 10 points in the first half, and the Gators were supported early on by Young, who scored 12 of the team’s first 20 points. However, the Wildcats ended the half on a 6-0 run – capped by a buzzer-beating floater by G/F Kevin Parrom – and took a one-point lead into halftime.

Tied at 41 with 15 minutes to play, Arizona used an 11-4 run to take a 52-46 lead and eventually jumped ahead seven points. Florida struggled shooting again in the second half but eventually put together a 14-4 run of their own to jump ahead 66-63 with just eight seconds remaining.

After bringing the ball across the court, the Wildcats called timeout inbounded it to F Solomon Hill, who was accidentally fouled by sophomore G/F Casey Prather. Hill was hit with his back to the basket beyond the arc, but the referees believed he was in the act of shooting and rewarded Arizona with an opportunity to tie the game on three foul shots.

Hill hit all three of his attempts to knot it at 66, and a half court three-pointer by Walker clanged off the backboard at the end of regulation.

Walker scored first for the Gators in overtime and hit five three throws down the stretch to help solidify a win for Florida. Three Wildcats (including Hill) fouled out in the extra period, and the Gators never trailed once in overtime.

Florida opened the contest 0-for-7 from the line and went just 1-for-9 in the first half. The Gators were only 2-of-14 from the charity stripe with 2:59 to play in regulation but hit 5-of-6 to close the second half and 8-of-10 in overtime to finish the game by connecting on 13 of their final 16 attempts.

Arizona was efficient from the line all evening (11-of-15) and cut down on their turnovers, coughing the ball up just four times in the second half after giving Florida 10 extra chances in the first 20 minutes.

Aside from Young, who shot 80 percent from the field, the Gators made just 30 percent of their attempts from the floor. UF shot 25.9 percent from downtown, outrebounded the UA 40-31 (17-7) and only turned the ball over 11 times.

Though it may not show up on the stat sheet, sophomore F Will Yeguete was a presence for Florida throughout the game, grabbing eight boards (three offensive) and four steals while scoring seven points on 3-for-3 shooting. He was involved in numerous other rebounds and turnover situations.

Gators junior G Kenny Boynton had his worst shooting performance of the season, hitting just 2-of-11 shots (1-for-6 from downtown) for nine points. Freshman G Bradley Beal also scored nine points, adding six rebounds and two assists.

UF will travel to Jacksonville, FL on Friday for a neutral site contest against Rider. The game will air live on Comcast Sports South (check your local listings).

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

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