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Thursday Sports Update (1/22)

By on January 22nd, 2015

Gator sports, NFL, NBA, and even some college football news in our Thursday Sports Update…

** A lot of activity in the NFL; Jacksonville hires Greg Olsen as its new offensive coordinator and Adam Gase rejoins coach John Fox as he is named the offensive coordinator with Chicago.   Cleveland names John DeFilippo as its offensive coordinator.

** Still no word from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on what action, if any, will be taken against the New England Patriots over news that some footballs were deflated allegedly by the Patriots in the AFC title game against Indianapolis.

** In college football, Georgia coach Mark Richt gets a two year contract extension.   And he gets a raise too.   Georgia was 10-3 this past season.

** In SEC hoops play, Texas A&M beats Missouri 62-50 and Mississippi State upsets Auburn 78-71.   Tonight, Alabama takes on Arkansas.

** In the NBA, Orlando loses to Detroit 128-118 while Charlotte nips Miami 78-76.  Both Orlando and Miami are off today.

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Wednesday Sports Update (1/21)

By on January 21st, 2015

A tough home loss for Gator men’s basketball, good news for Gator softball, NFL, NBA and more in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** The Florida men’s basketball team suffers its first home loss in a couple of years Tuesday night after losing to LSU 79-61.  The Gators play at Ole Miss Saturday to try to right the ship.

** In other SEC men’s basketball last night, top ranked Kentucky squeezes by Vanderbilt 65-57; Tennessee is 4-1 in league play after beating South Carolina 66-62 and Georgia tops Ole Miss 69-64.  More games on tap for tonight.

** Meanwhile the Florida softball team is ranked number one in the USA Today preseason poll.   Florida returns 14 letter winners from a national championship team a year ago.

** In college football, Vernon Hargreaves is going to Arkansas…well, not the Gator player but his father, who was named the school’s linebacker coach.

** Good news for Florida tight end Jake McGee; he’s been granted a sixth year of eligibility after suffering a season ending injury in the first game of the year last year.

** In the NFL, Jacksonville hires former Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone as its new offensive line coach and assistant head coach.   The Jags are also looking for a new offensive coordinator and former Denver play caller Adam Gase is a finalist for the job.

** Former Gator Chan Gailey has been hired by the New York Jets as their new offensive coordinator.   Gailey has head coaching experience both at the pro and college level.

** In the NBA, Oklahoma City tops Miami 94-86 on Tuesday.   Miami is at Charlotte tonight while Orlando is at Detroit.

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Gators Men’s Basketball Dropped by LSU

By on January 21st, 2015

LSU Postgame Recap

The Florida Gators men’s basketball team lost their first SEC home game since 2012 Tuesday night when they were defeated by the LSU Tigers 79-61.

The loss was Florida’s second in a row in conference play, as their record fell to 10-8 on the season and 3-2 in the league.

LSU’s big man duo of Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey were considered the advantage for the Tigers (14-4) heading into the contest, and that proved true as they Martin scored 22 points with eight rebounds while Mickey scored 14 points while grabbing 14 boards.  But Florida held its own inside, actually outscoring the Tigers in the paint area.

One area that Florida was horrible in was transition defense as LSU repeatedly raced down court for easy looks and lay ups at the rim.

However, the biggest difference maker was arguably the team’s shooting percentages. Florida’s offense struggled once again, going just 23 of 60 (38%) from the floor while the Tigers were able to convert on 27 of 52 (52%) shot attempts. LSU asserted their shooting dominance from behind the three-point line, making 8 of 13 (62%) three-point attempts compared to the Gators’ woeful 3 of 16 (19%).

After being dealt their worst loss at home since another 18 point defeat against Ohio State in November of 2010, head coach Billy Donovan sent a message to his team.

“I think what happens sometimes to these guys is they get so consumed with themselves, and again I want to make sure I clarify what I mean by that,” Donovan said. “It’s not like hey I’m not scoring or hey you’re not throwing me the ball, it’s not that. It’s like they want to play well first, and then they want the team to do well. The mentality is wrong, they’ve got to flip that to the point of doing their job. You know, we don’t do our jobs.”

One positive from the match up was Florida continuing to demonstrate their ability to score at the basket. LSU had the matchup advantage on the interior with Martin and Mickey, but the Gators outscored the Tigers 34-30 in the paint.

“I think there’s only two games this year in 18 games that we have not scored more points in the paint than our opponent, and that’s with no post presence,” Donovan said. “The thing I didn’t want to do this year with this team is just be totally one-dimensional, where we’re all on the perimeter and trying to bomb three-point shots to win games. We’re getting the ball in there, but we’re not getting fouled enough and were not finishing enough.”

Forward Alex Murphy had the best game of any individual Gator, scoring 10 points to tie for the team-high on three of five shooting, while sinking all four of his free throw attempts and grabbing two offensive rebounds in just 12 minutes off the bench. Forward Dorian Finney-Smith was the other Gator in double figures, as he notched 10 points by making 4 of 13 shots from the field.

The Gators will be back in action on Saturday when they visit Oxford, Mississippi to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. Tip-off from C.M Tad Smith Coliseum is set for 6 p.m., with coverage on Country 103-7 The Gator starting at 5:25 pm.

Click below to hear Coach Donovan’s comments:

Donovan on Team Mentality

Donovan on Paint Scoring

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Gator Women’s Basketball Gets Hammered in Loss to #1 South Carolina

By on January 20th, 2015

The Florida women’s basketball team (9-10) fell hard to South Carolina (18-0) 77-42 on Monday night after being dominated by the number one team in the country. The task of upsetting the top-ranked team quickly proved to be too cumbersome for the Gators despite the return of guard Carlie Needles from injury. After Florida hung in early, the Gamecocks jumped out to an 11-4 lead and never looked back.

The Gators were on their heels for most of the game as South Carolina capitalized on easy, high percentage shots without much resistance from Florida. The Gamecocks scored 46 of their 77 points in the paint and set the tone early in the game with their potent offense and stifling defense beneath the basket.

At halftime, Florida was already down by 23 points as the team struggled to keep the match up competitive. The Gamecocks ran away with the game primarily because the Gators played very poor transition defense. UF seemed to be blinded by the speed of Gamecock guards Bianca Cuevas and Tiffany Mitchell as they pushed the ball and enabled their team to score 14 fastbreak points en route to victory.

Florida coach Amanda Butler says their bad defense was a result of poor communication.

“We gave them a lot of points in transition. And so, that was just again…just sort of panicking. Just not really relying on communication and our structure and the things that we practiced…and gave them a lot of really easy looks in transition. We weren’t communicating, weren’t getting back, we weren’t stopping the ball…didn’t do a good job of anything in transition.”

In addition to South Carolina’s overwhelming competence on both sides of the ball, ice cold shooting from the field, combined with poor shot selection in the paint, made this game nearly impossible for Florida to win. UF shot just 27 percent from the field and scored just 26 points in the paint despite successfully penetrating the lane on numerous occasions.

The Gators leading scorer for the season and for the game, forward Ronni Williams, was the only player to score in double figures as the rest of the team struggled from the field and disappeared for most of the game. Attempts to force feed Williams the ball throughout the game led to many of their frivolous shots and careless passes in the paint.

Gator guard Kayla Lewis says they will try to use this painful experience to help them get better as they move forward.

“We have to learn from this. We practiced hard and, like coach said, and then for us to come out and play the way we did…it’s not good, so we have to come back in the gym and work hard again, but next time bring it onto the court for our next opponent.”

The Gators will try to snap their four game losing skid when they face Arkansas at home on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is set for noon, but you can catch live coverage of the game on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 11:45.

Click below to listen to audio mentioned above:

Coach Butler on their transition defense

Lewis talks about learning from this loss




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Tuesday Sports Update (1/20)

By on January 20th, 2015

Gator sports, NFL news, NBA, SEC hoops and more in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** The Florida men’s basketball team tries to get back on the winning track tonight when it hosts LSU.   Florida is 3-1 in SEC play.

** There are several other SEC games on tap for tonight.   Vanderbilt is at top ranked Kentucky, Ole Miss is at Georgia, and South Carolina hosts Tennessee.

** The Florida women’s basketball gets hammered by the top team in the country, as South Carolina beats Florida 77-42 last night in Gainesville to drop Florida’s record to 1-5 in the SEC.

** In the NBA, Miami hosts Oklahoma City; Orlando is off.

** Gary Kubiak has been hired as the new coach of the Denver Broncos and former Gator and current Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn looks like the front runner to be the new coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

** As spring training draws closer, the Milwaukee Brewers trade starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers for three players.

** In the first D1 baseball poll of the year, the Florida baseball team is ranked number two,  behind Vanderbilt, the champions last year.

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UF Women’s Hoops Welcomes #1 South Carolina Amidst Losing Streak

By on January 19th, 2015

The Gator women’s basketball team (9-9) will face off against the number one ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (17-0) tonight in the O’Connell Center. The Gators will be looking to put their three game losing streak to an end as they try to do something they haven’t been able to do in the last 26 years; beat a number one ranked opponent. UF is 0-10 all-time against top ranked foes.

Going into tonight’s game, the Gamecocks have won the last five match ups against the Gators and will be looking to stay undefeated in order to remain atop college basketball’s rankings. As Florida continues to struggle with ball security and inconsistency on both sides of the ball, South Carolina comes into the O’Dome boasting impressive statistics on both ends of the floor.

On offense, the Gamecocks are scoring an average of 78 points per game and are shooting 48 percent from the field. On defense, they’ve allowed an average of just 49 points per game from their opponents and have outrebounded them by an average of about 12.

In their loss against 10th ranked Kentucky on Thursday, the Gators managed to keep up with the Wildcats up until the last five minutes of the game despite turning the ball over 27 times. Although they were fortunate to remain competitive against Kentucky, if they continue to turn the ball over at this pace, an upset over South Carolina will be virtually impossible.

And to make matters worse for Florida, guard Antoinette Bannister has been dismissed from the team after being arrested and charged with using a stolen credit card belonging to a teammate.


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Monday Sports Update (1/19)

By on January 19th, 2015

The Super Bowl teams are set, Gator sports, NBA, big baseball news and more in our Monday Sports Update…

** This year’s Super Bowl will feature the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots after those teams won conference title games yesterday.   Seattle made an improbable comeback to beat Green Bay 28-22 in overtime while the Patriots overwhelmed Indianapolis 45-7.

** The Denver Broncos have a new coach; he’s Gary Kubiak, who last year served as the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.

** Former Gator and current Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will meet with Atlanta about their job opening as the Falcons search for a new head coach.

** The Florida women’s basketball team hosts the number one team in the country tonight in South Carolina but the Gators may have more things to worry about.   Guard Antointette Bannister has been dismissed from the team after being arrested and charged with using a stolen credit card and that credit card belonged to a teammate.

** In breaking news this morning, according to ESPN, free agent pitcher Max Scherzer has left the Detroit Tigers to sign a seven year deal with the Washington Nationals.

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Gator Men’s Hoops Drops to Georgia, 24-game SEC Win Streak Snapped

By on January 18th, 2015

All good things must come to an end and that was the case with Florida’s SEC winning streak in men’s basketball.

The Gators fell in a deep hole early and never recovered, falling to Georgia 73-61 in Athens on Saturday afternoon. Florida is now 10-7 on the season, 3-1 in the SEC.

The loss snaps their 24-game conference win streak. Florida tasted conference defeat for the first time since March of 2013 when Marshall Henderson led Ole Miss to an SEC Tournament championship win over the Gators.

Florida struggled from the tip-off as Georgia scored 12 unanswered points to start the game. The Gators didn’t get their first points until almost five minutes into the first half.

Despite shooting 50% from the floor (24-for-48), the Gators were unable to take care of the rock, committing a season-high 19 turnovers in the contest.

“This game is a microcosm of our team,” said Florida head coach Billy Donovan. “The hardest thing for younger players is to be consistent day in and day out, what comes with that is maturity.”

Junior Dorian Finney-Smith, perhaps Florida’s most consistent player coming into the game, was limited to 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting and six rebounds. Freshman Devin Robinson also contributed 11.

The Gators were no match for a veteran-laden Bulldog team that started two seniors and two juniors. Marcus Thornton produced an efficient 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting. Sharpshooter Kenny Gaines added 16 points as well, hitting 4-of-5 shots from behind the arc.

Georgia improves to 11-5 on the season, 2-2 in conference play. The win over Florida adds to their list of impressive victories this year. The Bulldogs have beaten Kansas State and Seton Hall as well.

Up next, Donovan and company will regroup as they look to start a new win streak on Tuesday night when they host LSU.


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Gainesville High Dominates Eastside 60-38 in Boys Basketball

By on January 17th, 2015
Sophomore Isaiah Wilson (#4) poses after electrifying the crowd with a one-handed poster dunk

In front of a packed house at Santa Fe College, the Gainesville Hurricanes took care of business against the Eastside Rams with a 60-38 win on Friday night.

Gainesville improves to 17-2 this season to solidify their number two state ranking in Class 6A.

Rudy Bibb-Boyd was firing on all cylinders, dropping a career-high 27 points for the Canes.

“He’s quick as can be with the ball in his hand and we wanted to push the basketball tonight and get the tempo up,” said Gainesville High head coach Kelly Beckham. “Early in the game, (Bibb-Boyd) was doing a really good job of (pushing the basketball) and creating some shots for himself in the open court.”

The Hurricanes never trailed in the contest. A thunderous one-hand fast-break dunk by sophomore Isaiah Wilson pushed the lead to 25-7 with under 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter caused the Santa Fe College crowd to roar.

“They’re all quality young men, they’re great in the classroom, and they enjoy being together,” Beckham added. “That type of chemistry just helps us so much on the court. And the other thing I say they all have in common is a desire to be successful.”

The Hurricanes remain undefeated in 6A play at 6-0 but they know their competition will only get tougher with the target on their backs growing.

“I do know we’ve got to keep getting better day after day because teams are coming after us,” Beckham said.

Up next, the Hurricanes will take on Oakleaf in a district match up on Tuesday night. Also on Tuesday, the Rams with try to bounce back against the Hawthorne Hornets.

To listen to the audio from the story, click below:

Beckham was proud of Rudy Bibb-Boyd’s efforts

Beckham says the team has a special chemistry between them

Beckham says there is still room to grow

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Perfect 10 Helps Gator Gymnastics Beats Auburn

By on January 17th, 2015

The Florida gymnastics team had its SEC opener and home meet debut Friday night against the Auburn Tigers. The final score of the meet had Florida at 197.200 and Auburn at 195.650, with Florida topping Auburn on every event. This meet was also the first ever live gymnastics action to air on the SEC Network.

The Gators started off the meet with a bang when freshman Alex McMurtry scored a perfect 10.0 on vault. This was just McMurtry’s second meet ever competing for the Gators. McMurtry naturally was excited.

“When everyone started screaming ‘ten! ten! ten!’ it was just the best feeling and I love that the first meet at home I was able to score a perfect ten,” McMurtry said.

Aside from having the winning vault score, she also won the most entertaining award for the meet. Kennedy Baker also had an impressive vault score with a 9.875.

Despite a fall on beam, Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto did become this meet’s bars champion with a score of 9.95. The only other fall the for the Gators was from Bridgette Caquatto on floor. Kytra Hunter was the meet’s floor champion while also tying with Auburn’s Caitlin Atkinson for the all-around title.

Auburn has not beaten Florida since 2004 but the Tigers got a nice performance from Atkinson who managed to take home the medal on beam along with her tie for the all-around title. This meet marked the 100th opponent for Auburn’s coach Jeff Graba, who is in his fifth season with the Tigers.

The Gators were missing two of their top competitors this meet due to injuries in Bridget Sloan and Jamie Shisler. But senior Kytra Hunter says the team will just keep on trying to do the best it can.

“We’re just going to keep pushing hard and keep training hard,” she said.

On the other hand, three of the team’s four freshmen got their chance to compete. Alex McMurtry on vault, bars, and beam, Kennedy Baker on all events, and Erica Fassbender on floor. This freshman class, including Grace McLaughlin, ranks number one on the 2014-15 top recruiting classes list.

The Gators will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama next Friday to take on the Crimson Tide. But before they hit the road, Gator head coach Rhonda Faehn said they have a few things to improve.

“We’re going to work on getting the landings a little higher and just the crispness in everything, a little bit more aggressive and they’ll get that as the competitions go on.”

To listen to audio clips, click below.

Alex McMurtry talking about getting a perfect score

Kytra Hunter talks about working harder without Bridget Sloan and Jamie Shisler

Rhonda Faehn talking about improvements to make

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