Notebook: Bittersweet send-off for trio of UF seniors

Seniors Erik Murphy, Mike Rosario, and Kenny Boynton, right, talk in a huddle against the Michigan Wolverines during the first half of their Elite Eight game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 10:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 10:21 p.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas — It was an emotional exit for Florida's three seniors. Guards Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario and forward Erik Murphy played the final games of their Florida careers in the Gators' 79-59 Elite Eight loss Sunday against Michigan. Boynton said following the game he was “honored” to play for UF coach Billy Donovan. He leaves Florida second on the career scoring list (2,033 points), first in 3-pointers made (333) and first in games started (142). Florida went 9-4 in games that Boynton started in the NCAA Tournament. “There's a lot of players that play college basketball and never make it to three straight Elite Eights,” Boynton said. “So I'm honored to make it to three straight Elite Eights. I'm proud of my team to come this far.”

Rosario could never get going offensively against Michigan, finishing with nine points on 4-of-9 shooting from the floor and 0-of-4 shooting from 3-point range. But the senior still wound up averaging 14 points per game in four NCAA Tournament games, including a 25-point performance in the Round of 32 against Minnesota. A transfer from Rutgers, Rosario was on the active roster for two of UF's three Elite Eight losses. “That's what I'm going to think about, for two years in a row, I had a chance to compete in the Final Four,” Rosario said. “But there are a lot of teams out there that wish they could be in the same position as us. I'm just thankful for the run we had.” Murphy took Sunday afternoon's loss to Michigan the hardest, considering he went 0 of 11 from the floor and 0 of 2 from 3-point range with three turnovers. But the 6-foot-10 forward will leave Florida with 1,052 points and led the SEC in 3-point shooting percentage at .453 (72-159). “I don't know,” said Murphy when asked about looking back on his college career. “I'll think about that eventually.” Young still undecided Florida junior center Patric Young said suffering a third straight Elite Eight loss won't factor into his decision whether to return for his senior season. Asked what would, Young replied: “Whatever makes me happy.” The 6-foot-9, 247-pound Young said he has no timetable on his decision to return to UF. He's projected as an early-to-mid second-round NBA Draft pick by most draft analysts. “Just going to catch up on school, take a little bit of time away, talk to my family,” Young said. “Do whatever I feel is best.” Etc. Former Gator and current Houston Rockets starting forward Chandler Parsons was among fans in attendance at Cowboys Stadium, cheering on the Gators. … The loss dropped the Gators to 17-2 in their last 19 games against lower seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Florida was a three seed in the South Region, while Michigan was a four seed. … Rosario was named to the NCAA South All-Region team with Michigan's Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, and Kansas' Ben McLemore. Burke was named the South Region's Most Outstanding Player. … Florida's 79-59 loss to Michigan was its third worst in NCAA Tournament history. The others, by scoring margin, were in 2003 against Michigan State (68-46) and 1988 against Michigan (108-85).

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