Florida has blown double-digit leads to Miami and Kansas so far this season but they weren’t going to let it happen again a third time.
The Gators cruised to 85-47 victory over Yale on Monday night at the O’Dome. Four players scored in double-figures for Florida as the team shot 63.8% from the floor.
“I thought the ball moved very well,” said Florida head coach Billy Donovan. “I thought we got good shots. I thought the biggest thing was we had a presence at the basket with our guards and front-court players… I thought we got good three-point shots where our guys were set (and) I thought we were well-balanced.
The Gators were also scorching from behind the arc, knocking down 10 of their 18 shots from three-point land.
Junior Michael Frazier II found his groove, leading the team with 18 points (7-for-11 from the floor, 4-for-7 on three-pointers). It was his most efficient shooting performance this season.
“Last year (Frazier) could just move and play off those other four guys (Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young, Casey Prather, and Will Yeguete) and they found him and it was easy,” Donovan said about Frazier. “Now it’s a lot more challenging and we don’t need him to necessarily score. We need him to take open shots and good shots and when he does that, it creates spacing and it creates opportunity for other guys.”
Frazier’s hot shooting proved to be contagious as the rest of the team flourished offensively. Dorian Finney-Smith added 14 points while Jacob Kurtz had a career-high 10 points.
Sophomore Chris Walker had a career-high 13 points as well just days following his performance against Kansas where he put up a then career-high 12 points.
“He got exposed,” Donovan said about Walker’s performances earlier this season “He really got exposed especially in the Bahamas and he wasn’t exposed because he’s not a good player – he got exposed because he didn’t play at the level of intensity he needed to play at.”
“I think the last two games now he’s played at a really high level of intensity (and) we’ve tried to simplify things for him to get him engaged into the things he can do well,” Donovan added.
Kasey Hill was also a bright spot for the Gators, filling the box score with eight points, 10 assists, and three steals. It was his highest assists total since his 10 assist performance against UCLA in the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
While Donovan was pleased with the production of his team, he’s looking for his team to stay consistent moving forward.
“Yes it was a good win against, in my opinion, a quality opponent,” said Donovan. “I don’t think they played to their defense like they have maybe in some previous games against Providence and UConn for whatever reason. But we need to keep getting better because at the end of the day, whatever we do in terms of what we earn will be there for us.”
Next up, the Gators (4-4) will host Texas Southern (1-6) at the O’Connell Center on Friday night.
To listen to audio from the story, click below: