No. 9 Florida routs North Carolina A&T 105-55
Published: Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 10:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 10:12 p.m.
Florida coach Billy Donovan admitted he was concerned about how his team would bounce back from its most lopsided home loss in more than a decade.
But North Carolina A&T proved the perfect tonic for the Gators on Thursday night. Behind eight scorers in double figures, No. 9 Florida overwhelmed the visiting Aggies 105-55 at the O'Connell Center.
The last time Florida lost by more than 18 points on its home floor, it lost by 25 to eventual national champion Kentucky in 1998. But two nights after a 93-75 loss to No. 4 Ohio State, there were no signs of a hangover.
"I was worried about how emotions would carry over from the last 10 minutes of Tuesday's game (against Ohio State)." Donovan said. "It was an emotional game for us.
"I was happy with how they responded."
It was Florida's highest scoring performance since a 105-51 win over North Carolina Central on Nov. 14, 2007.
"It was a good game for us to play," said senior forward Chandler Parsons. "In the second half against Ohio State, the effort wasn't there and there's no excuse for that. So to come out here against a team like this that's very disruptive, it was a great challenge for us to execute offense."
There were plenty of positives, beginning with a steady performance from starting point guard Erving Walker. The junior, who had seven turnovers in the Ohio State loss, finished with 11 points, six assists and no turnovers. Florida, which had turned the ball over an average of 17 times in its first two games, had just 11 turnovers against the Aggies.
"We talked a lot about the turnover issue," Donovan said. "A&T presses a lot, and we only had 11 turnovers in the game. Our two point guards (Walker and freshman Scottie Wilbekin) had 12 assists and no turnovers."
Parsons and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton each had 16 points to lead Florida in scoring. Freshman Casey Prather added 12 points off the bench. Erik Murphy, who made his first career start in place of injured Alex Tyus (concussion) had 11 points. Freshmen Patric Young and Scottie Wilbekin also had 11 points and senior center Vernon Macklin had 10 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes.
Another notable performance came from freshman Will Yeguete, who had seven points, 15 rebounds, three steals and four assists. Yeguete's 15 rebounds were the most for a UF freshman since Al Horford had 18 rebounds against Alabama on Feb. 5, 2005.
"I have a long way to go to reach that level," said Yeguete, when told he was close to breaking Horford's record. "Any time I'm on the floor, I'm just trying to bring some energy."
Florida played four freshmen on the floor for the final 10 minutes. Still, the Gators extended a 34-point lead to 50 by the game's closing seconds.
"Our goal was to hold them (under) 56," Young said, "With what we were able to do tonight scoring and rebounding and playing defense, that builds confidence."
It could also build depth the Gators will need against tougher non-conference and Southeastern Conference opponents.
"We need our freshmen to continue to grow and develop into consistent players," Donovan said.
FREE THROWS: Macklin said he underwent an MRI on Wednesday that revealed no structural damage to his knee. "It's tendinitis," Macklin said. "It got a little sore in the second half. I'm probably going to rest it the next two days." Donovan also expects Tyus to return for Sunday's game against Morehead State. "We're planning to work him out Friday at the facility so we'll know a little more then," Donovan said.
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