GAINESVILLE, FL. – Wednesday night, Florida basketball head coach Billy Donovan benched Patric Young due to his attitude in practice, attempting to send a message to the junior. Thursday night, Young responded, and sent a message not only to his head coach, but maybe to Florida’s opponents as well, earning a double-double and assisting the seventh ranked Gators in their domination of Big East foe Marquette, 82-49.
Last season, Florida eliminated the Golden Eagles from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16. Thursday’s matchup proved to be far less competitive, as the Gators controlled both sides of the court.
Aggressive, lockdown defense fueled the Gators in all facets of the game, setting up opportunities on offense while holding their respective opponent to under 50 points for the fourth time this season.
Despite not being included in the starting five, Young and freshman guard Michael Frazier II shined throughout the contest. Young tallied 10 points, 10 rebounds, and three emphatic blocks that ignited the crowd of approximately 8,000 at the O’Connell Center. Frazier set a career high in points, shooting 5 of 8 from beyond the arc and accumulating 17 points.
After the game, Frazier felt wonderfully about his first great collegiate performance, and feels he has earned the trust and respect of his teammates.
Head coach Billy Donovan elected to play Patric Young off the bench, citing a disruptive attitude in practice as reason for his prompt removal from the starting lineup. Donovan says that by playing hard each week, Young should excel on the court.
When told of the coach’s decision, Young was initially dismayed, but says he chose to react in such a manner as to turn a negative into a productive positive.
Defensively, the Gators kept the Golden Eagles up tempo offense in check throughout the game. Both halves began with Florida forcing a shot clock violation. The Gators forced 14 total turnovers and clogged the passing lanes all night long, in addition to forcing Marquette to take low percentage shots.
The Gators took the lead early and never looked back, keeping the lead for the entire game. Aided by four 3’s via the hot hand of Frazier II, including two back to back in the waning minutes of the half, the Gators took a 38-24 lead into the locker room.
Even with a 14 point margin separating the two teams on the scoreboard, Florida continued to force Marquette into mistakes. A 22-8 run solidified the victory for the Gators, who outscored Marquette 44-25 in the second half.
Six players—Michael Frazier II, Casey Prather, Mike Rosario, Will Yeguete, Erik Murphy and Patric Young, finished in double figures. Prather scored 11, the most points of his fledgling career thus far.
Guard Kenny Boynton, who entered the game needing eight points to tie Stacey Poole at fifth on UF’s all-time scoring list, had a rough night all around. Boynton struggled to hit only 2 of 11 shots from the field, and was shutout from beyond the arc at 0 for 5.
With the convincing victory, the Gators once again start 6-0 under head coach Billy Donovan. Marquette drops to 5-2 on the season.