Gators rout Seminoles on road
Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:53 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — There were no last-second shots to worry about. No critical last-minute possessions.
Who: Florida at Arizona
When: Dec. 15 at 10 p.m.
On TV: ESPN
Florida's torrid 2012-13 start translated away from the O'Connell Center in its first true road game of the season. With more balance on offense and another smothering effort on defense, the No. 6 Gators overwhelmed rival Florida State 72-47, silencing the announced crowd of 10,593 at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
There were plenty of hugs to go around following Florida's most lopsided win over the Seminoles since a 96-61 win in Gainesville in 1999. Patric Young had the line of the night, calling teammate Scottie Wilbekin “the basketball Honey Badger” following his five-steal effort against FSU. Overall, the Gators had 14 steals and scored 32 points off 22 FSU turnovers.
“I feel like Florida State is very organized in terms of what they do offensively,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “And I think what we tried to do is be disruptive to that flow.”
Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton led the Gators with 14 points apiece. Michael Frazier had 12 points off the bench and Young had 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Rosario scored 9 of his 14 points in the first half, making four of five shots to help the Gators build a 35-15 halftime lead. The Gators effectively mixed zone, man and press defenses to hold FSU to 25 percent shooting in the first half.
“My whole mindset coming into this game was to be aggressive from the jump,” Rosario said. “From the start, I thought we did a great job as a whole team just being locked in and being on edge, and I think we took care of business the first four minutes and that really determined the game.”
Rosario said he had been putting extra shooting work in practice. He came into the game shooting 40.4 percent from the floor, but made 6 of 10 shots on Wednesday night.
“He's streaky sometimes and he just had one of those games where he shot the ball well,” Donovan said. “I thought he gave us a very good lift offensively in the first half because the game was very, very physical. It was hard to come by baskets for both teams. It was tough to finish around the rim.”
Florida came into the game second nationally in scoring defense at 48.5 points per game. Wilbekin and Boynton took turns guarding Florida State senior guard Michael Snaer, who was held scoreless in the first half. Snaer, an All-ACC first team guard last season, was held to 10 points on 3 of 8 shooting.
“They mix defenses just enough to keep you out of rhythm,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “They play contain defense. They don't commit silly fouls.”
The Gators (7-0) didn't play complacent coming into its game with its highest ranking since the end of the 2007 season. Erik Murphy was scratched from the starting lineup with a hip pointer, but contributed off the bench with 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Florida went with a three-guard starting lineup of Boynton, Rosario and Wilbekin, who had 5 points, 5 assists and 5 steals.
“He's a great defender,” Donovan said. “He and (Will) Yeguete can guard a lot of different people, a lot of different positions.”
The Gators picked on FSU freshman guard Montay Brandon, who had 3 turnovers in 16 minutes.
“That's just what we try to do, we try to make teams uncomfortable for 40 minutes, especially when we get into our press,” Young said. “Try to make guys do things that they are not comfortable doing.”
Florida forced three of FSU's 12 first-half turnovers off the press.
“Once you get turnover after turnover, you lose composure and your team starts losing their togetherness,” Young said. “It led to another one after another one and their body language went down and we just capitalized on that. We didn't take our foot off the gas.”
Up 35-15 at halftime, the Gators put the game away with a 14-4 run to start the second half. The Gators led by as many as 33 points in the second half before emptying the bench to pick up their fourth straight win over the rival Seminoles.
Florida has won its first 7 games by an average margin of 25.2 points. The Gators will have a 10-day break before its showdown in the desert Dec. 15 at Arizona.
“Our coaches are doing a great job preparing us,” Young said. “We're doing a great job trying to improve ourselves and coming into practice very focused with a humble mind.”
Notes: Boynton (1,690 career points) passed Stacey Poole (1,678 points) for fifth on UF's all-time scoring list with his 14-point effort. …The 25-point margin of victory also was UF's most lopsided win against the Seminoles ever in Tallahassee. … No. 1 2013 basketball recruit Andrew Wiggins was in attendance on his official visit to Florida State. Wiggins is mulling scholarship offers from both FSU and Kentucky.