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Friday Sports Update (11/28)

By on November 28th, 2014

Lots of Gator sports, NFL, college football and more in our Friday Sports Update…

** The Gator soccer team is in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and will face Stanford tonight on the road.  A win puts them in the Final Four.

** The Gator women’s basketball team is on the road to face Georgetown tonight while the Gator men face North Carolina in a tournament in the Bahamas.

** The Florida volleyball team ends its regular season with a match at nationally ranked Texas Saturday.

** In the NFL, Detroit moves to 8-4 with a 34-17 win over Chicago; Philadelphia rips Dallas 33-10 and Seattle shuts down San Francisco 19-3.

** The three Florida NFL teams play this week; Jacksonville hosts the NY Giants; Tampa Bay hosts Cincinnati and the Miami Dolphins play the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

** In college football action, TCU keeps its playoff hopes alive with a 48-10 rout of Texas while LSU beats Texas A&M 23-17.   Several games Friday including Arkansas at Missouri that will decide the SEC East; also, Arizona faces Arizona State and Stanford takes on UCLA.

** And of course tomorrow Florida is at Florida State in college football.   The Gators are the last team to beat the Seminoles and this will be the final game at Florida for head coach Will Muschamp.

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Gators struggle but come out on top; Defeat UAB 56-47

By on November 28th, 2014

The No. 18 Florida men’s basketball team increased its record to 3-2 on the year after defeating the Blazers of UAB 56-47 Thursday night in a tournament in the Bahamas

After falling to the Hoyas from Georgetown on Wednesday night, the Gators were desperately looking to avoid an 0-2 start in Atlantis, and thanks to a strong push in the final few minutes, the Gators were able to avoid that travesty.

In a similar fashion to their loss to the Hoyas, the Gators struggled from the field shooting just 34 percent hitting 18 of 53 shots from the field. The team shot also shot just 30 percent from beyond the arc and 56 percent from the charity stripe. Despite the loss, the Blazers (2-4) shot 42 percent from the field and 71 percent from the line.

The Gators were led on the night by sophomore shooting guard Michael Frazier II who finished with 14 points. Frazier hit 4 of 10 from the field, including 3 of 7 from beyond the arc.

Freshman point guard Chris Chiozza was huge for the Gators on Thursday night notching 13 points, shooting 50 percent from the field. Chiozza was also instrumental on the defensive end finishing with three assists and six steals on the night, all in the first half.

Redshirt junior Dorian Finney-Smith was inserted back into the starting lineup after leading the team in scoring just one night ago and he finished with six points to go with four assists.

The Gators also saw decent performances out of two sophomores. Chris Walker finished with seven points and six rebounds and showcased some flashes inside that Gator fans have been waiting to see. Point guard Kasey Hill looked to build off of his strong performance to close out Wednesday night’s game and he did just that scoring the team’s first five points. Hill was also key down the stretch as the Gators closed out the game on an 11-0 run. Hill finished with eight points, five assists and three rebounds connecting on 3 of 7 shots from the field.

Overall, the Gators outrebounded the Blazers by nine and finished with seven less turnovers. Despite another sloppy game, the Gators were able to battle and receive a much needed win.

The Gators will now look to finish out their trip to Atlantis on a good note as they meet the No. 5 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tar Heels (4-1) fell to Butler in their first game of the tournament on Wednesday but rebounded to defeat UCLA on Thursday and should provide a tough test.

Tip off between the Gators and Tar Heels is set for 8pm on Friday.

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Gator Men’s Hoops Falls To Georgetown In Overtime 66-65

By on November 27th, 2014

The No. 18 Florida Gators fell to Georgetown 66-65 in overtime in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas on Wednesday night.

With 12 seconds remaining in overtime, sophomore Kasey Hill made a layup to tie the game and was fouled. He swished the free-throw to give the Gators a 65-64 lead.

But Georgetown guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera came up clutch, draining a long two-point jumper to retake the lead and ultimately give the Hoyas the win. It was the 21st lead change of the game. Smith-Rivera finished with 17 points.

The Gators drop to 2-2 on the season. The Hoyas improve to 4-0 and will face second ranked Wisconsin in the semi-finals.

Both Dorian Finney-Smith and Eli Carter came off the bench and played significant minutes despite being questionable prior to the contest. Finney-Smith led Florida with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting while grabbing six rebounds.

Carter, on the other hand, struggled to find his stroke. The junior guard scored six points on an abysmal 2-for-14 shooting; his potential game-winning bucket was rejected at the end of regulation.

The team had trouble shooting virtually all night, finishing the game 23-for-64 (35.9%) while Georgetown shot 24-for-49 (49%).

Jon Horford provided a lift for Florida despite leaving the game in the first half after taking an elbow to the chin from Georgetown big man Joshua Smith. Horford returned and finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Gators hope to bounce back when they take on UAB (2-3) in the consolation bracket on Thanksgiving night at 9:30 p.m.  You can hear the game live on Country 103-7 The Gator.

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Gator Volleyball Completes Perfect SEC Slate; Sweep South Carolina

By on November 27th, 2014

The 2014 SEC volleyball champion Florida Gators capped off the program’s 13th undefeated SEC season with a sweep of South Carolina (25-19, 25-9, 25-20) Wednesday night in Gainesville.

The sixth ranked Gators (24-3, 18-0 SEC) celebrated their three seniors, Maddy Monserez, Holly Pole and Taylor Unroe, in a pre-match ceremony, and were presented with the program’s 21st SEC trophy in a post-match celebration.  Florida dropped just five sets all year long in SEC play.

Four Gators — including Player and Freshman of the Year Alex Holston (12) and Rhamat Alhassan (13), All-SEC middle Simone Antwi (10) and standout outside hitter Carli Snyder (10), all put down double-digit kills thanks to All-SEC junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino’s 46 assists, leading the Orange and Blue to their 19th straight win and 13th conference sweep of the campaign.

Monserez (12), Pole (12) and Unroe (6) accounted for 30 of Florida’s 44 digs Wednesday evening, while Pole (3) and Monserez (2) had all five of Florida’s service aces.

Alhassan denied the Gamecocks six times to lead UF in blocks for the 25th time this season. The Gators hit .450, their second-best offensive hitting efficiency this season.

The Gators now hit the road for their regular-season finale at third ranked Texas (23-1, 15-1 Big 12) in Austin Saturday. The Longhorns took a September 6th showdown between the two squads, 3-1, in Gainesville. First serve is set for 2:30 p.m.

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Gators Enter Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament Lacking Depth, Will Face Georgetown Tonight

By on November 27th, 2014

The No. 18 Florida men’s basketball team hopes to show that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when it competes in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament starting today in the Bahamas.

The Gators (2-1) will play three games in three nights in the Bahamas regardless of the outcomes. First up, Florida will take on the Georgetown Hoyas (3-0) on Wednesday night.

Florida has injuries to deal with early in the year.  Redshirt junior Eli Carter is dealing with a sprained foot suffered in practice last week. Junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith has only played in one game this season after sustaining hairline fractures in his non-shooting hand. Both are questionable for Wednesday’s contest.

“My feeling right now going into this is we’re basically going to have the team we had playing against Louisiana-Monroe,” said Florida head coach Billy Donovan.

Senior walk-on Jacob Kurtz will likely get his second-career start. Kurtz grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds in the Gators’ overtime win against Lousiana-Monroe. The injuries open the door for freshman Devin Robinson to get his second straight start but it is unclear whether Donovan will put him in the starting lineup again after Robinson saw limited minutes in the second-half and overtime last Friday against the Warhawks.

Meanwhile, the undefeated Hoyas will be tested nonetheless when they see the Gators in Paradise Island. Georgetown has won its first three games of the season by an average of 17 points but their opponents are a combined 3-12 entering Wednesday.

Georgetown senior center Joshua Smith has been leading the charge for the Hoyas, averaging 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, on 69% shooting to start out the season.

“Well (Georgetown head coach John Thompson III) is going to have his system – he takes a lot of the Princeton style things and he’s adding his own things,” said Donovan. “They can play big if they play (senior forward Mikael) Hopkins and Smith together up front. They can go a little bit small if they put Hopkins to the center spot. They’re very, very quick and athletic on the perimeter, they’re a really good driving team, and they get to the free-throw line.

In order for the Gators to find success, sophomore point guard Kasey Hill needs to find his stroke. He’s averaging only 4.3 points per game and is only 3-for-24 shooting (13%) this year.

“I think he’s got to finish a lot better especially at the basket,” said Donovan. “He’s getting in there and certainly for us the last three games we’ve broken down every shot he’s gotten – it’s not like he’s finding three point shots… most are his shots are from 15-feet and most of his shots are in the lane. He’s got to finish better.

Tipoff is set for 9:30 p.m.

**North Central Florida residents can watch the game live on AXS TV channel 199 (Cox Communications).

To listen to audio from the story, click below:

Donovan talks about Eli and Dorian’s status for Wedenesday

Donovan talks about Georgetown

Donovan talks about Kasey Hill

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Wednesday Sports Update (11/26)

By on November 26th, 2014

The college football top four remains unchanged; Gator news, NBA, NFL and more in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** The top four remain unchanged in the College Football Playoff Committee poll; Alabama is number one followed by Oregon, FSU, Mississippi State.   TCU is fifth and Ohio State is sixth.

** In Gator news, the Florida women’s basketball team is now 3-1 after blasting Charleston Southern 92-64 last night.

** The Florida men’s basketball team starts a tournament in the Bahamas tonight by facing Georgetown.

** The Florida volleyball team has its final regular season game at home tonight as it hosts South Carolina.

** As always, lots of football on Thanksgiving; the NFL has Chicago at Detroit, Philadelphia at Dallas and Seattle at San Francisco.

** College football Thursday features TCU at Texas and LSU at Texas A&M.

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Gator Volleyball Looks to Close SEC Play Undefeated; Celebrate Seniors

By on November 26th, 2014

Sixth ranked Florida will honor its three seniors: Maddy Monserez, Holly Pole and Taylor Unroe Wednesday evening, prior to the Gators’ final home game of the season against South Carolina (17-12, 7-9 SEC) on Thanksgiving Eve.

The seniors are fourth, first, and second on the team in digs, and are the top three in receptions. The seniors have been vital to the defensive success of the squad, leading the Gators to 19 matches on the season that Florida has held its opposition to a .197 hitting efficiency or lower.

Both Monserez and Pole received SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors throughout the season, while Unroe was the 2013 SEC Libero of the Year.

The Gators are also led by junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino, this week’s SEC Offensive Player of the Week following Florida’s two-match conference road swing last weekend that saw the Gators claim the SEC outright Friday evening at Ole Miss before topping Arkansas in Sunday afternoon action.

Florida leads the all-time series against South Carolina, 50-7, and are 44-2 under Mary Wise. Florida (23-3, 17-0 SEC) has already defeated the Gamecocks this season, 3-1, in an October 15th meeting in Columbia.

First serve is set for 7 p.m. You can catch the call on ESPN 850 WRUF.

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Gator Women’s Hoops roll past Charleston Southern, 92-64

By on November 26th, 2014

 

A slow start was easy to overcome for the Gator women’s basketball team (3-1) as it defeats the Charleston Southern Buccaneers (2-2) 92-64 Tuesday in Gainesville.  After six minutes in the first half, Florida had only accumulated seven points and was shooting only 14% from the field.

Despite the slow start for the team, it was the opposite of a slow start for UF freshman forward Haley Lorenzen who scored five of the team’s first seven points. She says she credits her career high 17 points to her teammates.

“To be honest, I was honored to have an opportunity, but I could not have done it without my teammates. Cassie Peoples told me if I ran the floor she would find me.  It’s not about me making 17 points, it’s about my teammates finding me. I am just trying to make my open looks.”

It wasn’t until 5:44 left in the first half that the Gators begin to play like the team head coach Amanda Butler recognized. They stretched their 23-17 lead to a 22-point lead going into the half with a 43-21 score. The team’s defensive efforts led to 25 points off turnovers in the first half alone.

“We want to be challenged in these early games and continue to find out the things we need to work on. I thought we played a really great second half of the first half, and that’s when we were able to separate ourselves in a meaningful way,” said Butler.

Florida also had a big game from the non-starters. The bench scored 51 of the team’s 92 total points.

“We don’t go here’s our staring five and here’s our bench. Everybody at some point is going to be on the bench and just about everyone has been in the starting lineup and we just expect that consistency, we expect that second and third wave to give us energy, to elevate, and to build off of what the five that were in there before them did,” said Butler.

The team kept the spark going in the second half with 10 quick points. They shot 55% compared to the 34% they shot in the first half. Florida also only missed three free throws the entire game shooting 90% from the stripe.

Next up for Florida is a match up against Georgetown Friday night in Washington D.C., and Butler says that her team is prepared.

“There were a lot of positives, but a lot of stuff we still have to work on. We have things we have to quickly turnaround and work on because we have a great Big East opponent on Friday. We had some really nice individual performances that are indications of growth, and that is what we are looking for.”

For audio of the story click the links below:

Butler on her bench

Lorenzen on career night

Butler on Charleston Southern

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Gator football, Muschamp prepare for final game against Florida State

By on November 25th, 2014

November 24, 2012, was the last time Florida State lost in football. The team that beat them?

The Florida Gators.

That means the last coach to beat FSU was none other than Will Muschamp. Since then, the Seminoles have totaled 27 straight wins. On the other hand, the Gators have gone 10-13, leading to the dismissal of Muschamp a few weeks ago. Despite Muschamp not returning next season, he will still be the coach come Saturday as the Gators (6-4, 4-4 SEC) take on undefeated Florida State (11-0, 8-0 ACC) at 3:30 p.m. in Tallahassee.

Although FSU is coming off a slim three point victory over Boston College last weekend, Muschamp still thinks they’re a tough, talented team.

“They’ve done an outstanding job. They’ve got a very good team in all three phases. Offensively, really with their team starts with Jameis Winston. He’s a great player, a Heisman Trophy winner. Arm talent, he can throw it really any way you want it. He’s just got a great, strong arm. He’s able to throw the touch throws, take the ball to the right spots. He’s got a great pocket presence. He’s a very hard guy to tackle in the pocket. You’ve got to tackle him high. Great toughness for the position.”

There have been times this year where FSU has looked on the verge of losing. They’ve had to mount multiple comebacks from deficits including 24-7 to N.C. State, 21-0 to Louisville, and 16-0 to Miami. In all of those games, the Noles were able to find a way to win and Muschamp says it doesn’t make their winning streak any less impressive.

“Anytime you win, it may not be exactly what you want it to look like, and certainly all the experts are taking their shots, but they’ve still won 27, 28, 29 games in a row, and that’s hard to do. That’s really hard to do. So, you know, again, you see a very well-coached, good football team in all three phases that have talented players. They’ve won a bunch of games, they know how to win.”

FSU’s second half comebacks can mainly be attributed to their Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston, who seems to thrive in late-game pressure situations.

“They’ve done a good job in the second half. A lot of the success they’ve had is attributed to the quarterback position. The guy is making plays. He’s making a bunch of plays. Maybe teams are giving him different looks in the first half — I can’t really go and tell you that. I know in the second half his numbers really go up when the game is on the line.”

It will be a tough challenge to contain Winston, but Coach Boom knows the key will be staying unpredictable in what they do.

“You’ve got to change things up. He’s a guy that when he knows what he’s getting — he’s good, regardless — but he’s really good when he knows what he’s getting, whether it’s pressure or coverage, middle field or split safety. I think you’ve just got to continue to change up and have creative looks that you are playing multiple things out of. Those are some things we do a lot anyways.”

Emotions will be running high for everyone involved in Saturday’s game, but for the players especially, they will need to approach it like any other game.

“There will be high emotions. They need to manage that,” Muschamp said. “They can’t let it overtake them, especially early in the game getting very emotional. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs in the game, and you’ve got to play through them. Any big game, that’s what you need to be able to do.”

Kickoff for Florida’s final regular season game against FSU is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, with pregame coverage beginning at 12:30 on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp on Winston

Muschamp on the Noles winning streak

Muschamp on Winston being the key to FSU’s 2nd half comeback

Muschamp on how to slow down Winston

Muschamp on the players having to manage emotions

 

 

 

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UF Women’s Hoops to take on Charleston Southern Tuesday

By on November 25th, 2014

Coming off of a 72-66 loss against St. Johns, the Florida women’s basketball team (2-1) returns home to take on Charleston Southern (2-1) tonight. The last time the two teams matched up was on December 20, 2011 when the Gators came out on top 83-59.

“We’re more focused on ourselves first and far most and then Charleston Southern. They’ve already played a road game, had two high scoring wins to start their season, so I think that they’re trying to find themselves a little bit as well,” said Gator coach Amanda Butler.

Entering their fourth game of the season, Butler also spoke about pushing her team to set the tone early. She says her team is giving up too many turnovers and they’re not executing plays.

“Defensively we haven’t done a great job of executing the things that we’ve worked on. We’ve got to find that,” she said.

Against St. John’s the Gators trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half and had trouble maintaining leads.

“There were some great opportunities to learn about our team and things that we obviously need to improve and things that we’re capable of that we need to just continue to build on,” said Butler.

The team will take on the Buccaneers Tuesday night in the O’Connell Center. Tip-off is set for 7 pm. You can listen to the game right here on ESPN 850 WRUF, with coverage beginning at 6:45.

For audio of the story click the links below:

 

Butler on Charleston Southern

Butler on execution

Butler on learning from every game

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