Notebook: Prather puts in work off Gator bench


Florida forward Casey Prather takes a shot over Mississippi State guard Craig Sword during the first half on Saturday.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 10:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 10:02 p.m.
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Florida forward Casey Prather takes a shot over Mississippi State guard Craig Sword during the first half on Saturday.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
The message was clear for Florida junior forward Casey Prather. Let things loose and don't worry about the consequences. Prather made the most of his opportunity Saturday against Mississippi State. The 6-foot-6 junior finished with 12 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. Florida coach Billy Donovan said Prather worked hard in individual workouts throughout the week to continue to recover from his high ankle sprain. “They told me just to push off on it and if it got any worse, it was on (trainer) Duke (Werner),” Prather said. “He told me to believe in him and just to be ready to play.”


Prather provided an early spark with eight points in the first half, which included a steal and dunk on the press and some mid-range buckets. “He gave us some good minutes off the bench and did some good things for our team when we needed it,” Donovan said. Prather and freshman Michael Frazier II both stepped up to offset the absence of junior forward Will Yeguete, who is out 4-6 weeks following surgery to remove bone chips in his knee. Frazier, in his first start, made his first three 3-point attempts and finished with 11 points and six rebounds. He started for Scottie Wilbekin because Wilbekin was ineffective in practice. “It's great to finally get that out of the way,” Frazier said. “I just try to come in and give the team energy, play hard.” Prather served the role of an athletic energy player last season when Yeguete went down in late February with a broken foot. His 12 points were two shy of the career-high 14 points he scored against Virginia last season in the NCAA Tournament. “I just know I have to bring my energy to the table because Will can't play,” Prather said. “Rebounding, defense, I just tried to step up any way I could.” Passing fancy Kenny Boynton had six more assists against Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon. Over his last four games, the senior guard from Pompano Beach is averaging six assists per game. “I'm just trying to find the open man,” Boynton said. “I'm still driving, but if there's someone open who is going to have a better shot, I'm going to try to get the ball to him.” Etc. Florida posted its third sellout of the season with 12,444 at the O'Connell Center. The Gators' game Tuesday night at the O'Connell Center against Kentucky also is sold out. … Boynton went 0-for-5 from 3-point range, having his string of 15 games with at least one 3-pointer snapped. … The Gators improved to 11-0 at home this season. “We've got to take on that challenge, and that challenge is protecting our home court,” Florida senior guard Mike Rosario said following the Mississippi State win.

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