Florida leaves UK Green with envy

Published: Monday, February 6, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 11:53 p.m.
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Florida's Taurean Green goes high in the first half trying to defend Kentucky's Patrick Sparks during Saturday's game at the Stephen C. O'Connell center.

TRACY WILCOX/The Gainesville Sun
Taurean Green may have swayed a few All-Southeastern Conference point guard votes with his career-best performance Saturday in the O'Connell Center.
Green was the glue in No. 8 Florida's 95-80 win over Kentucky late Saturday night that propelled the Gators to the 20-win mark for the earliest time in school history.
Florida (20-2, 6-2 SEC) also broke a school home winning-streak record with its 20th straight at the O-Dome.
Afterwards, players and coaches couldn't come up with enough superlatives to describe Green's 29 point, 9 assist night.
"Taurean was just special tonight," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "He did a super job running his team."
Smith said Kentucky did not account for Green's ability to penetrate to the basket.
"If he gets any angle at all, he can get all the way to the basket or find someone open on the perimeter, which he did pretty regularly," Smith said.
Florida coach Billy Donovan said that Green has kept an even demeanor as he's navigated the team through injury problems over the past two weeks.
"Taurean is a great competitor," Donovan said. "Kentucky was switching a lot in the pick and rolls and he was making good decisions with the basketball, when to shoot, when to dish, when to penetrate to the basket.
Green has saved some of his biggest performances for national audiences, averaging 23 points per game in four games broadcast by ESPN. His prettiest play came on an in-bounds underneath the basket, a high lob that forward Joakim Noah slammed down as he skied through the lane.
"We just looked at each other." Green said of the play. "It was just taking what the defense gave us. The lane was wide open."
Noah, who made 11 of 13 shots for a career-high 26 points, credited Green and the rest of his team for the ball movement that generated easy shots.
"I made, like, maybe one or two post moves tonight," Noah said. "I'm not doing anything special offensively. I'm just getting easy buckets in transition."
Florida appears back on course, with a three-game winning streak following consecutive losses at Tennessee and South Carolina. The Gators, who will likely climb a spot or two in both polls today, will have a chance to avenge the loss to the Gamecocks when they next play South Carolina at home Wednesday night.
"We have a lot to learn from those two losses," Noah said. "We just have to keep playing hard no matter who we play."
You can reach Kevin Brockway by calling 374-5054 or by e-mail at brockwk@gvillesun.com.

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