SIX BITS: Noah, Murphy, Delta, volleyball, Tebow

1 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has long held up former South African president Nelson Mandela as one of his idols. So for Noah to easily have his best game of the 2013-14 season on the day of Mandela’s passing was certainly no surprise. On Thursday, Noah posted his second-straight double-double with 17 points (on 6-of-9 shooting) and a season-high 15 rebounds in a 107-87 win over Miami. After the contest, he was interviewed by TNT’s Craig Sager and ended the conversation like this:

2 » The Florida Gators are expected to have major frontcourt troubles next season with big-bodied seniors – center Patric Young and forwards Casey Prather and Will Yeguete – all scheduled to graduate. One of its other big men is on shaky ground and a fifth, who has yet to enroll, could be a one-and-done player. Facing a potential roster that would have its two tallest players – current redshirt sophomore F Dorian Finney-Smith and five-star incoming F Devin Robinson (Christchurch, VA) listed as 6-foot-8 – the Gators may have found some help in the form of current Duke redshirt sophomore F Alex Murphy. The brother of Erik Murphy, Alex has decided to leave the Blue Devils at the end of the fall 2013 semester and may very well be headed to Gainesville, FL. He would have to sit out two semesters per NCAA rules and would not be eligible until next spring, but Alex Murphy would nevertheless be a much-needed addition for UF. OnlyGators.com is still working to confirm his transfer destination as of press time.

3 » Florida found another way to disappoint its fans this week. In a story overlooked for the last few days by OnlyGators.com, UF’s basketball team made headlines by displacing 50 passengers on an Atlanta, GA-bound Sunday flight when Delta decided to help the Gators by chartering a new plane for the team to Storrs, CT for its showdown with UConn. According to The Gainesville Sun, a maintenance delay grounded the plane that the team usually charters, so Delta stepped in to help at the expense of customers that had already purchased tickets on the flight. “Passengers from flight 5059 were accommodated on other flights and given vouchers valid for use through Delta for future trips,” a spokesman told the paper. Florida has gone above and beyond to try and deflect any blame heading its way. The Gators have claimed ignorance regarding Delta’s decision, which he company took completely on its own shoulders.

Check out the statement and three more BITS…after the break!

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Noah, Murphy, Delta, volleyball, Tebow

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Florida wins season opener in 40-point rout

The sharpshooting No. 8/10 Florida Gators opened the 2011-12 regular season in style Friday night, dominating the Jackson State Tigers 99-59 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Sophomore center Patric Young posted his first career double-double, and a duo of guards – junior Kenny Boynton and redshirt junior Mike Rosario – led Florida with 19 points each on 14-of-25 combined shooting (9-of-15 from downtown).

The Gators opened the game by outscoring the Tigers 18-3 in under five minutes and held a 59-23 lead at the half. Florida began the second half with a 15-0 run to take a game-high 51-point lead with nearly 17 minutes left to play.

UF outrebounded JSU 44-29 and forced 24 turnovers while only giving up the ball 10 times. Florida also dished out 14 more dimes (20-6) and held Jackson State to 34 percent shooting while hitting 51.3 percent of their tries during the contest.

Young tied a career-high with 12 points and added 10 rebounds for his first double-double. Four other Gators (including Boynton and Rosario) posted double digit points.

Freshman G Brad Beal shot 1-of-6 from downtown but posted 14 points. Senior point guard Erving Walker contributed 10 points and notched a game-high four assists.

Sophomore forward Will Yeguete was efficient in his 15 minutes of action, hitting three of four shots for seven points and seven boards. Redshirt freshman F Cody Larson scored the first points of his career, and sophomore PG Scottie Wilbekin played 15 minutes after sitting out the exhibition game due to a broken finger.

Florida passed its first test of the young season but will have a much tougher opponent in their next game as they are set to face Ohio State on the road in Columbus, OH on Tuesday. The game will air live at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

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