No. 7/8 Florida basketball (16-2, 6-0 SEC) continued its dominant run in league play by ousting Mississippi State (7-11, 2-4 SEC) on the road Saturday evening in Starkville, Miss. The Gators led 41-19 at the half and 82-47 at the final buzzer. UF is poised to not only enter the top five but perhaps crack the top three of the new top 25 polls on Monday.
Instant Analysis takes a closer look at the UF victory.
IT WAS OVER WHEN: …the game started. After trading baskets early and finding themselves down 4-3, the Gators put together an impressive and dominant 28-4 run to leap ahead of the Bulldogs 31-8 midway through the first half. Florida was in the driver's seat from that point forward and would have needed to completely implode in order to give up its significant advantage.
HE STOLE THE SHOW: Four of the Gators' five starters had fantastic evenings on Saturday, but senior forward Erik Murphy and senior guard Kenny Boynton each dominated the proceedings by both registering a game-high of 18 points. Murphy hit 6-of-8 shots - 4-of-6 from beyond the arc -to go along with six rebounds, two assist and a block. Boynton drained 7-of-11 shots - 4-of-8 from downtown - while also notching four boards, two dimes and two swipes.
THIS STAT DOESN'T LIE: The Gators built their huge first-half advantage by dominating the glass and outrebounding the Bulldogs by a +15 margin (24-9). Florida was just as proficient in the second half, registering a +9 margin (20-11) and finishing the game with a 22-board advantage on Mississippi State..
OH, WHAT A PLAY: Early in the second half, with UF already leading 43-21, junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin dribbled into the lane and tossed an alley-oop to junior center Patric Young, who caught the ball at its highest point with his right hand and slammed it home for a thunderous one-handed jam.
THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: Florida was the better team in every facet of the game. The Gators had the matchup advantage in the backcourt - Wilbekin moved the ball however he liked and Boynton had so many open threes that he passed up opportunities he would've taken in other games. Florida was dominant in the frontcourt - five players had at least three rebounds compared to just one for MSU. UF even had the coaching advantage (not surprisingly) with Billy Donovan having his opponent so well scouted that it never had a chance in the contest.