Florida routs Rhode Island with crisp performance

Florida's Patric Young, left, fights for possession against Rhode Island's Nikola Malesevic during the first half on Monday.

Aaron Daye/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, January 3, 2011 at 11:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 3, 2011 at 11:02 p.m.

Florida's final tuneup before Southeastern Conference play wasn't another Monday letdown. Not even close.

This time, the Gators built on some positive momentum with an 84-59 win over Rhode Island at the O'Connell Center.

After beating Xavier on New Year's Eve, Florida was equally crisp on the offensive end while maintaining its season-long defensive intensity. Senior forward Chandler Parsons scored a season-high 18 points and added 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

“It feels good, not just to play well, but to play well as a team,” Parsons said. “We came in with the mindset of shutting them down because they are an explosive offensive team. The shots we made were just a bonus.”

Point guard Erving Walker added 14 points and is now 14 points shy of 1,000 for his career. Kenny Boynton (10 points) and Alex Tyus (10 points) also reached double-figures.

With walk-on Kyle McClanahan scoring four points late, Florida scored more than 80 points for just the second time this season. Florida last scored more than 80 points on Nov. 18 in a 105-55 win over North Carolina A&T

The Gators (11-3) open SEC play Saturday at home against Ole Miss.

A year after his miracle 75-footer to beat North Carolina State in overtime, Parsons put together his best effort of the season, scoring inside, outside and on putbacks. Parsons finished the game 3-4 from 3-point range and had 5 assists.

Parsons last scored double-figures (13 points) on Dec. 5 against American.

“I've been getting some extra shots up the gym,” Parsons said. “I've only got four months left here so I want to make them the best that I can.”

Playing its first Monday game since losing 71-68 in overtime to Jacksonville, Florida players didn't let a short turnaround affect them this time around.

Freshman center Patric Young made his first career start for Vernon Macklin and scored a career-high eight points. Macklin, who suffered a shoulder injury against Xavier, scored 6 points off the bench. Florida sophomore forward Erik Murphy also was out with a sprained foot he suffered Sunday in practice.

Murphy will be out 5-10 days with a mid-foot sprain and is doubtful for Ole Miss.

Macklin checked in less than four minutes into the first half and made an impact, scoring on a jump hook and dunk to give the Gators an early 12-6 lead.

Rhode Island cut Florida's lead to 13-12 on an Orion Outerbridge putback. The Gators responded with a 22-2 run, scoring inside and outside in one of their best offensive stretches of the season. Eight different players scored during the flurry, which included a combined eight points from Young and freshman forward Casey Prather.

Freshman Scotte Wilbekin gave Florida its biggest lead of the first half, 35-14, on a driving layup from freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin. Rhode Island closed the half on a 10-3 run. Parsons made a 3-pointer to put Florida up 38-21, but James responded with a 3-pointer to cut Florida's lead to 38-24 at halftime.

Rhode Island missed its first 10 3-point attempts and finished 2-13 from 3-point range in the first half. Florida, meanwhile, was 4-7 from the 3-point line in the first half. The Gators finished 8-18 from 3-point range and are now 14-31 from 3-point range over their last two games.

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