It didn’t take long. The Florida Gator men’s basketball team showed the Mississippi State Bulldogs why they are a top ten team Saturday night.
Season highs and typical Gators defense left the Bulldogs crushed 82-47. This past Wednesday, the Gators had to fight back in the second half to get their toughest win of the SEC schedule at Georgia; against MSU it was a different story. The Gators were down 4-3 early on and then went on a big run and never looked back. Gator coach Billy Donovan gives high praise for the quick change from their last game to this one.
Donovan and company take great pride in defense and this game was no exception. The Bulldogs’ leading scorer, Roquez Johnson, was held scoreless. As a team, MSU shot just 17 of 52 and only 3 of 15 from three. Donovan yet again believes their last game against Georgia was a turning point. Donovan, as he has done all year, takes great pride in team D.
Florida meanwhile did well offensively. The Gators once again shot over 50 percent and had a season high with 14 shots from beyond the arc. The group also parlayed their practice chemistry into an unselfish passing attack. The 23 assists were a season high.
Contributing a very strong performance was Patric Young. Up and down play has plagued the center most of his career, but in front of a road crowd, he shined. Even coach Donovan, one of his toughest critics, knows when Young’s credit is due.
Young finished with a strong stat line. He shot a perfect 6of 6 from the floor to go along with six rebounds and two assists. However, Young wasn’t the lone bright spot. As is the case most games it was a complete team effort. Three of the other four starters were in double figures led by forward Erik Murphy with 18, guard Kenny Boynton with 18, and guard Scottie Wilbekin with 13.
Leading the way in scoring for the Bulldogs was Fred Thomas with 19 points. But those 19 were a bit diluted as he shot just over 35 percent for the game. Forwards Colin Borchert and Gavin Ware each managed 10 points.
Florida is expected to jump into a top five spot in the rankings as numerous teams have lost within the past week including four of those teams on Saturday.
The Gators next chance to look unstoppable comes this Wednesday. They will be at home for the first time in almost two weeks to take on South Carolina.