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HOOPS: Gators sneak past Spiders

GAINESVILLE -- No. 12 Florida survived a scare against a pesky Atlantic 10 team, sneaking past Richmond 67-58 at the O'Connell Center on Saturday afternoon. 

The Gators (11-2) extended their home-winning streak to 23 games -- the third-longest streak in the nation and one victory away from a school-record -- to close out its brutal non-conference slate. 

Florida struggled through a sloppy and disinterested first 30 minutes before exploding on a 12-0 run to ultimately seal the win. 

Following 12 lead changes -- 10 in a topsy-turvy second half -- the Gators held shifty point guard Cedrick Lindsay (game-high 19 points) and the rest of the Spiders (10-5) scoreless for over a three minute period late, while seniors Patric Young and Casey Prather took over offensively. 


Young scored 15 points -- on an efficient 6-of-8 from the field -- and chipped in six rebounds and two assists. 

UF's senior center sparked a listless group after receiving a foul call during a contested offensive rebound midway through the second half. Young screamed multiple audible expletives in jubilation, energizing the sleepwalking Gators and a quiet O'Dome. 

Sophomore sniper Michael Frazier, who finished with a team-high 18 points, immediately drilled consecutive three-pointers to kickstart UF's rally. 

"I didn't think we had any leadership in the first half from our seniors," UF coach Billy Donovan said. "We looked pouty, moody, inconvenienced, not focused. … It got much better in the second half. We battled."

Florida shot a lowly 26 percent from downtown (5-for-19), but Frazier (3-of-7 from the 3-point line) connected on three key second half treys to shift the game's momentum. 

"Every time Mike Frazier shoots the ball we think it's going in," Young said. 

Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin labored through an ugly first half -- 1-of-9 shooting, two fouls, just one assist -- before chipping in a solid second period as Florida finally discovered some offensive rhythm.

"I put a lot on Scottie's plate," said Donovan, who challenged Wilbekin in front of the team at halftime for playing too much 1-on-1 ball. "I don't think we're selfish at all," Donovan continued, but "we'd be great on a horse track."

While Florida's peripheral passing vision waxed and waned, the Gators grinded out a win by mauling the Spiders on the glass (44-22 advantage), dominating the paint (38-20 advantage) and controlling the tempo late. 

UF capped an impressive non-conference schedule that included wins over Memphis, Kansas, Florida State, Fresno State and Middle Tennessee State. 

"We aren't going to see anything in our leage that we haven't see up to this point in time," Donovan said. 


UF again struggled at the charity stripe, shooting just 53 percent (10-of-19). The Gators allowed the Spiders to hang around by closing the game just 2-for-8 at the line. … Dorian Finney-Smith grabbed 13 rebounds. … Eight different Gators scored at least three points, with four players -- Frazier, Wilbekin, Young and Prather -- in double-digits. … Florida hosts South Carolina on Wednesday to kickoff SEC play. 

VIDEOS: Donovan talks UF's win and the team's impressive non-conference record, while Frazier dishes on his back-to-back 3-pointers.  



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