It was anything but another night at the office for the Florida men’s basketball team despite the result being rather routine.
The Gators may have managed to get out of Starkville with a 62-51 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Thursday, but the way they did it at times was sloppy and inconsistent offensively.
Florida shot just 42 percent from the free-throw line, Michael Frazier II started the game 0-4 from 3-point range, and the Gators let Mississippi State go on an 8-0 run to end the first half, dwindling UF’s lead to just one (27-26).
But it was a tale of two halves on Thursday night as Florida was able to outscore the Bulldogs 35-25 in the second half resulting in the Gators seventh SEC win of the season.
Though Casey Prather led the Gators with 16 points, teammate Patric Young received player of the game honors because of his 12-point, eight-rebound, three-block performance.
After the game Prather spoke on how having so many seniors makes adjustments in the second half easy to execute.
“We got a lot of seniors on this team so we’ve been through it,” Prather said. “We’re experienced so we know we’ve gotta stick it out. Whatever we can do to help the team win, we do that.”
As for the commander in charger, Florida head coach Billy Donovan said this game was not a win that was appealing to the eyes. He spoke on how there are battles and then there are just sloppy wins, and this one seemed like the latter.
“You know, it was not a pretty win, but a lot of times that’s not the way road games are,” Donovan said. “Very rarely do you not have to grind it out and go through some adversity. I thought the key tonight was the free throw battle and we definitely took more free throws, the problem is we shot 42 percent from the free throw line.”
However it looks, this win elevates Florida to 18-2 on the season and helps them remain undefeated in the SEC. After three of their last four games being on the road, the Gators come back to the O’Dome for a three-game home streak starting with Texas A&M this Saturday.
“We had plays around the basket… we just couldn’t finish, couldn’t make, but I’m happy we won. I’m happy we’re 7-0 and it’s a game with a quick turn around. Hopefully we can improve on it and get ready for A&M on Saturday,” Donovan said.
Florida’s next game is Saturday afternoon with tip off at 4 p.m.; you can hear the game live on Country 103-7 The Gator starting at 3:25pm.
For audio on the quotes above, click here: