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December 9, 2010With Florida trailing Kent State 27-23 with three and a half minutes to go in the first half, senior center Vernon Macklin set the tone going into the locker room.
After Kenny Boynton drilled a three for the Gators on the offensive end, Macklin raced down the floor and slammed Michael Porrini's layup into the glass on the left side of the rim.
"I thought it was going to be called a foul," Macklin said, "but I got the block. We got the ball inside like Coach [Billy] Donovan said."
Building on Macklin's big block, the Gators used a 17-2 run from the end of the first half to the start of the second half to pull away from the Golden Flashes for good.
Macklin turned in one of of the most well-rounded performances of his career, racking up 19 points on nine of 12 shooting, pulling down a team-high eight rebounds and recording three blocks.
His play inside set the tone for the Gators, who attacked the paint all night long and knocked off Kent State 65-52.
Forward Alex Tyus also had one of his best outings of the season, attacking the glass constantly in the second half.
He finished with a team-high 20 points on 10 of 15 shooting. Kent State had no answer for him in the paint as he slammed home five dunks.
On one early in the second half, he took off from about 10 feet away from the basket and slammed it home with both hands.
"It's exciting getting dunks," Tyus said. "It was just really fun to be a part of the offense and being able to make plays. Me and Vernon just continue to find each other, and we're just trying to become a good frontcourt together."
The play of Tyus and Macklin inside helped to make up for a lack of scoring from Florida's guards and strong three-point shooting from Kent State. The three guards for the Gators connected on just five of 20 shots. Kent State shot seven of 18 from behind the arc, but three of those came on the last two possessions of the game.
Sophomore Erik Murphy also had a good night, notching five points, four rebounds and two blocks.
"I thought Alex had some very explosive plays in the second half with a couple dunks," said Donovan, who told his team to attack the paint after halftime. "The ball needs to go inside ... I thought our guys
recognized that in the second half."
Even with the dominant performance inside, Donovan is concerned about his team's shooting from further away from the basket.
The Gators have struggled to hit jump shots over the course of the past few games. Boynton has been extremely inconsistent with his shot and Parsons has lost the touch on his mid-range game.
Macklin stressed after the game the team is trying to get its outside shooters better looks by working inside-out.
"Coach did talk a lot about getting the ball inside-out," he said. "I've just got to find our shooters on the outside."