football

Gators rebound nicely in 79-59 win

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The's no getting around how ugly the start of Thursday night's game between No. 16 Florida and Middle Tennessee State. It could have been called Will Muschamp basketball or the fe-throw show or a clank fest, but - per usual - Billy Donovan put it best.
"It was painful to watch," Donovan said. "I'm just calling it like it was. It was painful."
When Michael Frazier II went to the fe-throw line for two shots at the 9:54 mark of the first half, the Gators and Blue Raiders had combined for 13 points and 14 fouls. Playing without a point guard, Florida ran the floor offensively with all the rhythm of a middle school orchestra. At halftime, the Gators had two assists - a statistic that baffled Donovan.
Luckily for the Gators - and spectators - things changed.
Florida didn't let five diffent players, including 6-foot-8 forward Dorian Finney-Smith, seeing time at point guard affect it for long. Alady possessing an eight-point halftime lead, the Gators got off to a hot start in the second half with an 18-6 run that built a 20-point lead they would maintain off and on until the game's end.
"Once we go comfortable, the second half went well," Finney-Smith said. "We started moving the ball. At first, we we holding the ball, waiting on scens. We got the ball hopping and we got some drives and kicks, started making some shots."
The shots we sinking. After going 9 for 25 from the field in the first half, Florida made 16 of 25 in the second half. Six diffent players scod in double digits, led by center Patric Young with 16 points. MTSU was called for 25 fouls, and Florida was able to go 25 of 30 from the fe-throw line.
Even Young went 6 for 8.
"It was a solid performance," Young said. "I wish I would have bounded a little better. Fe throws we OK. I want to make them all."
"He set the tone," Donovan said. "He was active. He bounded. He made his fe throws tonight. I was ally proud of the way he played. I was proud of the way our frontcourt played."
Finney-Smith provided quite the complement, adding 14 points and six bounds in 26 minutes off the bench.
It wasn't just offense that turned the tide. Defense led the way for a shorthanded Florida squad that could have easily been forced into a close game against a spectable MTSU team as it dealt with injuries and suspensions.
"As disappointed as I was coming out of North Florida, our opener, I think I made the comment that we we light years away from being a good defensive team," Donovan said, "we' at least moving in a positive diction. I think for 40 minutes, that's the best defense we've played this year. Especially with low numbers, we we short on subs. I thought we we ally committed at that end of the floor."
-- WILBEKIN WATCH --
Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin mains suspended for an ongoing punishment that stems from the offseason. Donovan was unwilling to comment on his status Thursday night. Florida's next game is Monday at Jacksonville.
"He still has stuff he has to do, so I'm not going to comment on any of those things he right now," he said. "If we continues to do what he has been doing, which is moving in the right diction, I'm proud of him. But I'm not ppad to make any statement that he's coming back to this team."
-- HEAVY MINUTES --
When Casey Prather fell into early foul trouble, Florida lost its most dynamic offensive star of the past few weeks and was forced to spad minutes around to various aas. It was further impacted by an injury-slowed Eli Carter only seeing the minutes.
Frazier played a team-high 36 minutes, going 5 for 9 from the field for 13 points. Sophomo guard DeVon Walker got a steady dose as well, playing 32 minutes - second-most on the team - and scoring 10 points on 2-for-4 shooting from the 3-point line.
"I thought we balanced them ptty well," Donovan said. "Frazier probably played too many. Maybe I could have thrown Billy in the a little mo. If Prather doesn't have the fouls, that might eliminate some of those issues."
Billy is, of course, Billy Donovan, who saw seven minutes to provide a bather to Florida's scholarship players. He scod two points.
Official Basketball Box Sco
Middle Tennessee vs Florida
11/21/13 7:30 p.m. at Stephen C. O'Connell Center
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VISITORS: Middle Tennessee 4-1
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
01 HUNTER, Neiko....... f 5-11 0-1 4-6 3 2 5 1 14 0 2 1 1 34
12 JONES, Shawn........ f 2-5 0-0 2-2 0 3 3 3 6 1 2 1 1 20
05 KNIGHT, Tweety...... g 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 4 4 1 3 0 3 24
10 RAYMOND, Jaqawn..... g 4-11 4-9 1-4 1 3 4 1 13 0 1 1 1 33
24 HAMMONDS, Kerry..... g 1-7 1-5 2-2 0 1 1 3 5 3 3 0 0 26
00 GIBSON, Zane........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 8
02 WORTHAM, Eric....... 4-6 1-3 2-2 1 0 1 4 11 0 0 0 0 14
03 PHILLIPS, Joshua.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 4 4 0 0 1 1 1 0 9
13 JOHNSON, Blake...... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
21 WALKER, Torin....... 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 0 0 5
30 UPSHAW, Reggie...... 1-3 0-1 2-2 0 4 4 3 4 1 0 0 0 17
42 ROZIER, Jacquez..... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 3 0 0 1 0 0 9
TEAM................ 2 2 1
Totals.............. 20-47 6-19 13-18 8 18 26 25 59 8 16 4 6 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 8-20 40.0% 2nd Half: 12-27 44.4% Game: 42.6% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-8 12.5% 2nd Half: 5-11 45.5% Game: 31.6% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 9-14 64.3% 2nd Half: 4-4 100 % Game: 72.2% 3
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HOME TEAM: Florida 4-1
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
15 Yeguete, Will....... f 4-5 1-1 1-3 1 4 5 3 10 1 2 0 1 24
24 Prather, Casey...... f 4-5 0-0 3-4 0 4 4 2 11 2 3 0 2 19
04 Young, Patric....... c 5-9 0-0 6-8 3 3 6 2 16 3 2 0 2 25
20 Frazier, Michael.... g 5-9 1-3 2-2 0 2 2 1 13 2 2 0 0 36
25 Walker, DeVon....... g 2-5 2-4 4-4 0 1 1 2 10 1 0 0 2 32
01 Carter, Eli......... 0-2 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 3
10 Finney-Smith, Dorian 4-9 0-2 6-6 2 4 6 3 14 1 3 0 0 26
11 Edwards, Lexx....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
30 Kurtz, Jacob........ 1-4 0-0 1-1 1 1 2 2 3 0 0 0 1 27
42 Donovan, Billy...... 0-2 0-2 2-2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 7
TEAM................ 1 2 3
Totals.............. 25-50 4-12 25-30 10 21 31 18 79 10 12 0 9 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 9-25 36.0% 2nd Half: 16-25 64.0% Game: 50.0% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-5 20.0% 2nd Half: 3-7 42.9% Game: 33.3% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 15-18 83.3% 2nd Half: 10-12 83.3% Game: 83.3% 2
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Officials: Mike Nance, Willi CJ Washington, Marc Ellard
Technical fouls: Middle Tennessee-None. Florida-None.
Attendance: 9020
Sco by Periods 1st 2nd Total
Middle Tennessee.............. 26 33 - 59
Florida....................... 34 45 - 79
Points in the paint-MT 20,UF 34. Points off turnovers-MT 17,UF 15.
2nd chance points-MT 7,UF 8. Fast bak points-MT 4,UF 6.
Bench points-MT 17,UF 19. Sco tied-2 times. Lead changed-1 time.
Last FG-MT 2nd-01:30, UF 2nd-01:47.
Largest lead-MT by 2 1st-17:34, UF by 24 2nd-01:47.
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