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November 21, 2013

Instant Analysis: Florida muscles past MTSU



What could have easily turned into a sneaky tough non-conference game for shorthanded No. 16 Florida (4-1) was instead a solid statement victory and route. The Gators defeated the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders 79-57. Instant Analysis takes a look.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Michael Frazier still has as slick of a 3-point stroke as you'll see, and he displayed it with 6:58 remaining in the game. Off a dish from Will Yeguete, Frazier sank a deep shot over a closing defender to give the Gators a 21-point lead.

HE STOLE THE SHOW: For the second game in a row, Patric Young embodied the definition of what Billy Donovan wants him to be this season. Young still had his share of offensive inconsistencies, but he finished leading the Gators in scoring with 16 points and put together a complete line. He had six rebounds, three assists and even made six consecutive free throws. Honorable mention goes to Dorian Finney-Smith, who notched 14 points and six rebounds while playing point forward.

THE STAT DOESN'T LIE: Thursday night's crew of officials took the new foul guidelines to heart, and the result was a plodding game that was chopped to pieces by whistles and free throws. At the 9:54 point of the first half, Florida and MTSU had combined for 14 fouls and 13 points. By game's end, there were 43 fouls and 48 free throws between the two teams. No players fouled out, but only one Gator -- Billy Donovan -- saw minutes without committing a foul and seven Gators had two or more fouls.

WHAT A PLAY: It was a mostly quiet night for Casey Prather, who went out early with foul trouble. But he made his presence felt when Young found him cutting to the hoop on the backside and fed him a pass he turned into a reverse layup over two Blue Raiders.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The Gators played without a traditional point guard with Kasey Hill watching from the bench in a walking boot and Scottie Wilbekin suspended. The effect wasn't difficult to detect. Florida's offense was discombobulated at best for parts of the first half and had just two assists at halftime. Finney-Smith saw extensive time at the point, after DeVon Walker opened the game there. There was traction found in the second half, but the Gators still had 10 assists compared to 12 turnovers.


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