Notebook: Full-court pressure rattles Tigers
Published: Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 7:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 7:18 p.m.
Florida coach Billy Donovan normally likes to press more often at home.
The Gators took advantage of their full-court pressure during their 83-52 win over No. 17 Missouri at the O'Connell Center.
Florida's press created an impact from the start, with Mike Rosario stripping Missouri guard Phil Pressey in the backcourt and converting a breakaway layup to give the Gators an early 7-0 lead.
“We underestimated the amount of pressure that their full-court press would put on us,” Missouri senior guard Keion Bell said.
Overall, Florida scored 34 points off 21 Missouri turnovers. The Gators finished the game with 14 steals. Florida junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin's three steals led directly to six UF points on breakaway layups.
Florida's crowd of 12,597 was its first sellout in eight home dates this season. The Gators sold out five games last season, all on Saturday home games in Southeastern Conference play.
Florida students were allowed to camp out at the O'Connell Center on Friday night following its gymnastics meet against Missouri to get early seating for the Saturday afternoon game.
“It was pretty cool,” Florida junior center Patric Young said. “I think they sold out on Monday. And to know that our fans stayed overnight that was even more cool. We talked to them. They were really excited, they had a lot of emotion.”
Closing out stronger
Apparently, the post-game tongue-lashing from Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey worked.
Florida's freshmen closed out the game stronger than they did in getting outscored 9-0 down the stretch Thursday at Texas A&M. With all four freshmen and walk-on sophomore Jacob Kurtz in with 2:33 left, Florida was still outscored, but only 5-3. The highlights included two steals from freshman point guard Braxton Ogbueze, a baseline jumper from Kurtz with one second left on the shot clock and a free throw from DeVon Walker.
Following the Texas A&M game, Pelphrey lambasted the freshmen for their lack of intensity down the stretch.
“I was a little disappointed in the game at Texas A&M, and I thought they did a great job,” Donovan said. “Obviously it's 30 seconds to go, I'm telling them to hold the ball and Missouri is trapping us. That last turnover wasn't their fault. … They moved the ball, Kurtz got a shot, we defended, they did a much better job when they were in there.”
Florida handed Missouri its worst loss since the Tigers fell 100-63 to Michael Beasley-led Kansas State on Feb. 16, 2008. … Scouts from 12 different NBA teams attended the game, including former Golden State and Miami Heat point guard Tim Hardaway, who was scouting for the Miami Heat.