Fastbreak: Florida edges Texas A&M 66-62

Florida Gators basketball (15-15, 8-9 SEC) won back-to-back games for the first time in over a month and returned to .500 with a 66-62 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies (20-9, 11-6 SEC) on Tuesday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Three days after picking up his 500th career victory, head coach Billy Donovan won his 200th Southeastern Conference game, making him just the third coach ever to reach that milestone in league play.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Tuesday’s action with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: Five-straight points by redshirt junior guard Eli Carter (two free throws and a three-pointer) put Florida ahead 58-42 with just over three minutes to play and looked to put the game firmly in the Gators’ grasp. Instead, the Aggies began fouling and chipped away at that lead with a 20-7 run, cutting their deficit to three with 6.3 seconds left. UF went 8-for-18 from the charity stripe over the final two minutes.

“I think that, in the second half in particular, has been a real microcosm of our team mentally. We’re not a mentally-strong team,” Donovan said of the free throw shooting issues. “At the end of the game, you can’t just take two point guards off the floor from a ball-handling standpoint. So at some point, those guys got to make free throws. You look at those guys’ free throw percentages, calling it like it is, those guys felt a lot of pressure. They felt a lot of pressure. That’s what’s happened to our team a lot this year is we have these mental lapses.”

Significant stretch: Leading by two, the Gators put their foot on the gas and exploded on a 14-0 run, boosting Florida ahead of Texas A&M 47-31 with eight minutes to play. Redshirt junior forward Alex Murphy scored nine points (including seven-straight and six as part of the run), adding a block and a steal during the extended scoring stretch. “I really felt the last couple days here we’ve had some really good practices, in particular on the defensive end of the floor,” Donovan said. “For us I thought, defensively, all the way around … we did a much better job. I thought we made some strides defensively.”

Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Florida edges Texas A&M 66-62

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Texas A&M Aggies – Super walk-on Jacob Kurtz set to be honored

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPNU (Rich Hollenberg, Dino Gaudio)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: Watch ESPN app

SiriusXM: 136/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Billy Kennedy
Record: 14-15 (7-9 SEC) Record: 20-8 (11-5 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida -4

SUPER WALK-ON WALKS OFF

The origin story for Florida super redshirt senior walk-on forward Jacob Kurtz is well-known by now.

Once a mild-mannered student at Florida who asked to watch practice inside the Gators’ facility, Kurtz was granted the opportunity to do so by Donovan and quickly became a constant presence around the team. Seeing Kurtz was extremely interested and undoubtedly persistent, Donovan let him begin contributing to the program as a glorified custodian who mopped the floors and took care of the laundry. “The Snake” then slithered his way into a role as an official team manager. Then one day, Florida was short on bodies for a practice, so Donovan asked if Kurtz wanted to run around with the team. That’s when everything changed.

“Then it was like, ‘Wow, this guy is not that bad. Would you like to play?’ ‘Oh yeah, I would love to play,’ [Kurtz replied]. Then he is in practice every day and all of a sudden he is playing and he was very, very cerebral and he was smart and pays attention,” Donovan recalled on Monday.

“I give him a lot of credit for perseverance, patience and resiliency and being really smart and always being ready. He took advantage of his opportunity and was prepared for his opportunity.”

Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Texas A&M Aggies – Super walk-on Jacob Kurtz set to be honored

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Fastbreak: Texas A&M breaks Florida’s heart in final seconds on Valentine’s Day

The Florida Gators lost a game by a single point for the second time in three days as the Texas A&M Aggies, which led for nearly the entire contest, fought off a late surge to pick up a 63-62 win on Saturday night at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas.

Florida (12-13, 5-7 SEC) fell below .500 through 25 games for the first time since head coach Billy Donovan‘s intial season with the team in 1996-97 with its defeat at the hands of Texas A&M (17-7, 8-4 SEC), giving the Gators four-straight losses – their first such streak since 2007-08.

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

It was over when: Florida trailed for 37:33 before taking its first lead, using a 6-0 run including a step-back jumper by redshirt junior guard Eli Carter and fastbreak layup tip-in from sophomore center Chris Walker to jump ahead 62-61 with 1:45 to play. A careless turnover by sophomore point guard Kasey Hill – following a big defensive stop – put Texas A&M back on top by one. The Gators touched the ball last, calling a timeout with 5.3 seconds remaining but nevertheless failing to get off a shot, passing the ball twice with redshirt junior forward Alex Murphy attempting a three after the buzzer.

“A&M really had control of the game from start to finish. They were probably a little bit surprised – as most everybody else was – when we went up by one,” said Donovan. “We got a good stop and then we turned the ball over, which we fouled [on the play]. … I thought we had a chance [at the end]. Dorian probably should’ve made a play on that, but he’s very unselfish and it was an unselfish play by him … but there wasn’t enough time to do that. He probably needed to be more selfish in that situation.”

Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Texas A&M breaks Florida’s heart in final seconds on Valentine’s Day

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Gameday: Florida Gators at Texas A&M Aggies

Location: Reed Arena – College Station, Texas [Capacity: 12,989]
Time: 6:30 p.m. EST

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Darrin Horn, Kayce Smith)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 92/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Billy Kennedy
Record: 12-12 (5-6 SEC) Record: 16-7 (7-4 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida +2.5 | O/U 120.5

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Fastbreak: Birthday boy Patric Young celebrates, leads Florida to 69-36 rout of Texas A&M

No. 3 Florida Gators basketball (19-2, 8-0 SEC) nearly went wire-to-wire on Saturday, leading the Texas A&M Aggies (12-9, 3-5 SEC) for the final 38:51 of the contest on the way to a 69-36 home victory at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

UF tied a school record by winning its 13th consecutive SEC home game, a streak that dates back to Jan. 9, 2013. The Gators have also started the season 8-0 in league play for just the third time in school history and second time in as many seasons (11-0, 2007).

Florida won its 13th-straight game and picked up a victory for the 18th time in its last 19 contests. OnlyGators.com breaks it down with six quick-hitters:

It was over when / significant stretch: After struggling to find the bottom of the net for much of the first half, the Gators used a 10-0 run to take and hold a half-high 17-point lead into the break. UF grabbed the lead with 18:51 remaining in the first half and steadily increased its lead over TAMU throughout the remainder of the contest. Florida eventually went up a game-high 38 points late in the second half.

Prominent player: Senior center Patric Young had himself a game, grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds while going 2-for-2 from the field and 5-for-8 from the line for nine points. It was his first double-digit rebounding game since Feb. 12, 2013 and came at a perfect time – on his 22nd birthday. (Young missed three-straight free throws while facing an opportunity to register his first double-double since that same date.)

“I thought he was great today. I really thought his energy was very, very good. I told him I’m going to tell him every game it’s his birthday,” said Donovan after the game. “He had a really good energy. He chased balls, he was aggressive, he was physical, he defended; I thought he really played exceptionally well today.”


Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Birthday boy Patric Young celebrates, leads Florida to 69-36 rout of Texas A&M

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No. 3 Florida-Texas A&M preview: Bouncing back

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

TV: SEC Network (Joe Davis, Joe Dean) [Affiliates]
SiriusXM: 113/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(3) FLORIDA GATORS TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Billy Kennedy
Record: 18-2 (7-0 SEC) Record: 12-8 (3-4 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -17.5 | O/U: OFF

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 3-1 all-time against Texas A&M with a 2-0 record under Donovan. The Aggies are visiting Gainesville for just the second time – first as a member of the SEC – and last fell to the Gators at home by a score of 73-46 on Jan. 2, 1992.
» UF is currently riding a school-record 26-game home winning streak (third longest in the nation) with 12 wins in a row against SEC opponents in the O’Dome.
» The Gators have opened league play with a 7-0 record for just the fourth time under Donovan. The school record for best SEC start is 11-0, set in 2007.
» Florida is on a 12-game winning streak and has won 17 of its last 18 games.
» The Gators are 70-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 8-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» 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 is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» The Gators are 5-2 in true road games this season.
» This is the second-straight Thursday-Saturday turnaround for Florida. UF’s senior class is now 12-1 overall in its last six Thursday-Saturday situations (counting last Thursday’s win) and can sweep its sixth-straight instance of playing two games in that three-day period with a victory on Saturday.

Continue Reading » No. 3 Florida-Texas A&M preview: Bouncing back

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Florida Gators men’s track & field wins second-straight NCAA Outdoor Championship

Though the program had never won an NCAA Outdoor Championship prior to the 2012 season, Florida Gators men’s track & field captured its second-straight national title in the season-ending event on Saturday, coming from behind once again squeak out a victory at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR.

Nine points behind the Texas A&M Aggies heading into the men’s 4×400-meter relay, the final event of the afternoon, Florida gutted out a victory in 3:01.34 and benefited from a miscue by Texas A&M. The Aggies dropped the baton during the race, finishing eighth and earning one point, as the Gators picked up 10 points and pulled even with their Southeastern Conference rivals for a shared national title.

Florida, which entered the fourth day of competition in 11th place with just total 15 points, scored 38 during the final day of the event proceedings and brought home two additional (three total) individual national championships on Saturday.

Senior Omar Craddock ended his collegiate career by defending his outdoor men’s triple jump title with a leap of 16.92m/55-6.25, matching his score from 2012. Craddock’s victory marks the fourth-straight outdoor triple jump championship for UF and seventh overall (indoor and outdoor) from 2010-13.

The Gators also won the men’s 4×100-meter relay title in 38.53 seconds on the backs of freshman Antwan Wright, sophomore Hugh Graham, Jr., senior Leonardo Seymore and sophomore Dedric Dukes. Florida earned a 0.01-second victory in the event as Alabama finished in 38.54 seconds.

Graham and Dukes – along with freshmen Najee Glass and Arman Hall – were also part of the 4×400-meter relay title team that won in 3:01.34.

UF has won five of the last eight NCAA Championships in track & field with a three-peat in indoor competition from 2010-12 and consecutive outdoor titles from 2012-13.

The Gators conclude the 2012-13 athletic season with two NCAA Championships (gymnastics), eight SEC regular-season titles (basketball, gymnastics, soccer, women’s cross country, volleyball, men’s swimming, women’s tennis, softball) and one ALC regular-season title (lacrosse). Florida also won two SEC Tournament titles, seven individual national championships (gymnastics, swimming, track & field) and 12 individual SEC titles (swimming, track & field).

Photo Credit: @GZTrackField

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Gators baseball quickly eliminated from SEC Tournament, NCAA hopes in jeopardy

By Andrew Olson – OGGOA Contributor

Coming off losing three of their last four regular season games, eight-seed Florida Gators baseball (29-28) went one-and-out in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament, losing 6-3 to the nine-seed Texas A&M Aggies (31-25) in a single-elimination first round game on Tuesday.

After going on a winning streak in April where they won 11-of-12 games, the Gators looked to have significantly improved their chances of participating in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Florida has not done itself any favors since, losing nine of its last 13 games and putting its NCAA Tournament hopes in the hands of the selection committee, which must weigh UF’s difficult schedule against its disappointing finish to the season.

The Gators got the start they were looking for on Tuesday, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Florida first got on the board without a hit as sophomore right fielder Justin Shafer (0/4, R) reached on an error, advanced to second on a balk, moved up to third on a failed pick-off attempt and scored on a ground out by senior first baseman Vickash Ramjit (0/4, RBI). The Gators got their second run of the inning off three singles with sophomore designated hitter Zack Powers (1/4, R) crossing the plate when senior shortstop Cody Dent (1/2, RBI) knocked him home.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Johnny Magliozzi (6.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R [4 ER], BB, 6 K) started smooth by retiring the first 10 batters he faced but ran into trouble in the middle innings Aggies third baseman Hunter Melton tilted the score 3-2 in Texas A&M’s favor with a three-run homer in the fourth inning.

Continue Reading » Gators baseball quickly eliminated from SEC Tournament, NCAA hopes in jeopardy

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