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HOOPS: Balancing Act -- UF cruises past MTSU

GAINESVILLE -- No. 14 Florida dismantled Middle Tennessee State -- an 11th seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament -- 79-59 thanks to a 15-4 run early in the second half Thursday night in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Six players scored in double figures -- Dorian Finney-Smith (14), Will Yeguete (10), Michael Frazier (13), DeVon Walker (10), Casey Prather (11), Patric Young (16) -- as a shorthanded Florida team discovered some offensive cohesiveness following a horrid first half playing without freshman point guard Kasey Hill (high-ankle sprain).

Although the balancing act took awhile, it was an impressive win after an ugly start.

“I thought our offense was really good without a point guard in the second half,” UF coach Billy Donovan said. 

Prather, plagued by first half foul trouble, scored all 11 of his points after halftime, while Young finished the night with six rebounds, three assists and 16 points -- six via the foul line.

“I thought Patric did a great job tonight,” Donovan said. “I thought he set the tone defensively. He made a diving play in the first half, which was phenomenal. He was active. He rebounded, made his free throws. I was proud of him tonight.”

UF -- propelled by a dominating defensive effort -- jumpstarted its second half offense with transition buckets, four 3-point plays and several wide-open treys.

The Gators also held MSU’s top two scorers -- Shawn Jones and Kerry Hammonds, both who average 16 points per game -- to a combined nine points.

“We were really committed to that end of the floor,” Donovan said. “We were engaged. We were disruptive.”

But the first half barely resembled basketball.

Two quality teams combined for 26 fouls, 32 free throws and just 17 baskets in a brutal opening 20 minutes -- one that Donovan called “painful to watch.”

It was another game marred by fouls (43), but Florida at least made them count, shooting 83 percent (25-30) from the free throw line.

“It’s going to take some time for everyone -- officials, coaches, players -- to adjust,” Donovan said of so many whistles. “It maybe a painful year from the spectators standpoint for awhile, but hopefully we move into a positive direction once [the new rules] becomes second nature.”

VIDEOS: Young talks Florida's simplified offense without a true point guard and the team's second-half explosion, while Finney-Smith dishes on his role as a point-forward, the slow start and his loud momma. 



Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton


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Wait until we get all the injured guys back and Walker enrolls in December just in time for the big Dance. It's gonna be fun.
Go Gators!

Heeeeeeeey, now you have something to cheer for other than womens bowling.

Not really we suck at lacrosse too

Ouch that chalkboard hurts

Saturday's loss to South Carolina has sent Florida to depths not seen since the Carter administration. It's been 34 years since the Gators lost five in a row. It has been even longer since Florida has finished under .500 in the SEC twice in three seasons (1971 and 1973), as they now have under Muschamp. And Florida will have to beat No. 2 Florida State in the season finale to get six wins and a bowl trip. In other words, we are a mere 14 days from the nation's second-longest bowl streak going up in smoke.

You guys lost 3 and looking at 4 tomorrow. Geez, you guys are stupid.

my beloved turds better not lose to this pathetic squad or else i'm signing a petition to run willie da pimp muschamp outta town

Dropping three like its hot and four like its any other ordinary season is customary for the mighty canes. Too bad Shapiro isn't around to buy your guys a game card at Dave & Busters for their hard work this season.

Please tell me that you guys didn't forget that you lost to the Bulls at home. Green & Gold > Green and 'erng.

Go Go Gainsville! Smash the competition!!!

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