Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune | TBO.com
Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Colleges

Florida tops Aggies, stays perfect halfway through SEC season


Published:   |   Updated: February 1, 2014 at 09:38 PM

GAINESVILLE -- No. 4 Florida also added to its what is becoming a record book season with a 69-36 win against Texas A&M with dates against stop SEC foes Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky looming in the next 10 days.

The Gators (19-2 overall, 8-0 in SEC play) extended their record home winning streak to 27 straight games, tied the school mark with most consecutive SEC wins in the O’Connell Center (13) and increased their current season winning mark to 13 in a row, dating back to a Dec. 2 65-64 loss at Connecticut.

It also tied the fewest points Florida has held an SEC team since 1950. The Gators held South Carolina to 36 last year. Florida’s leading scorer, Casey Prather, did not start but played despite being slowed by an ankle injury.

Florida players talked after the win about chasing greatness. It is the third team to start the season 19-2. The previous two in 2006 and 2007 to match the best start in school history won national titles.

“We talk about every possession playing to the best of our ability, five guys connected, being the best we can be,’’ Gators coach Billy Donovan said.

No one had to convince Texas A&M that Florida is pretty good.

“We had our opportunities to make free throws and layups, we couldn’t score,’’ TAMU coach Billy Kennedy said. “But Florida had a lot to do with that.’’

For about 10 minutes, the Aggies (12-9, 3-5) actually stayed close. It was 14-12 when the walls caved in as Florida held the Aggies to just two field goals the rest of the first half.

The Gators scored 18 of the final 23 points to lead 32-17 at the break. A 14-3 run to open the second half put the game well out of reach for the Aggies, who have lost their fifth straight conference game.

Texas A&M made its own woes worse by having just two field goals in the first 11-plus minutes of the second half as UF built the lead to 58-24.

Birthday boy Patric Young had a 22nd birthday to remember, with a career-high 14 rebounds and missed a pair of foul shots late in the contest to just miss his first double-double of the season while totaling nine points.

“No one can touch us at home if we play like that,’’ said Young of UF’s defense.

Michael Frazier also had a memorable game by tying a career-high with 21 points, to go with eight rebounds. Will Yeguete (five points) added 10 boards and Dorain Finney-Smith (11) also had nine rebounds. The Aggies did not have a player in double figures.

The Gators finished with a 57-27 rebounding advantage.

“We’re getting better but we’ve got to understand it’s a process,’’ Frazier said. “I still think there are still a lot of things we can get better at. . . . Not a lot of teams have the opportunity to be great. But we feel like our team has the pieces to be great.’’

Texas A&M’s previous worst loss of the season was an 80-52 loss at South Carolina on Wednesday. The Aggies’ lowest offensive output this season had been 41 against North Texas on Dec. 31.

“The best way we can improve is to just put this game behind us and move on to the next game,’’ said Aggies guard Alex Caruso. “There’s nothing we can do.’’

The fewest points the Gators have held any opponent in the shot clock era (1986) is 27 vs. Southern in 2006.

Comments