For the first time this season the Florida Gators played a complete, balanced game and a blowout came with it.
Michael Frazier II led with a game-high 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc and Chris Walker added a career-high 13 points, snagging 6 rebounds and earned two blocks to aid the Gators (4-4) over the Yale Bulldogs (8-3) 85-47 Monday night in the Stephen O’Connell Center.
Florida paved the way to their first consistent showing of the season after going on an 8-0 run at the 12:15 mark capped by a Kasey Hill lay up in the first half, as Florida would not trail for the rest of the game.
“We started off good both games, but this game we finished the game like we started,” forward Dorian Finney-Smith said of last game compared to tonight. “We made a promise to each other that we were going to start the second half with more energy than we started in the first half and that’s what we tried to do. We didn’t want to take a deep breath this game, we wanted to keep pushing.”
Florida displayed their best performance in the second half this season and showed that they can finish games and play with the same energy for 40 minutes.
The Gators were lacking in showing consistency on shooting the ball, but against Yale with a 38-point victory, it was the most the team has scored all season eclipsing their 79-point high prior, while bucketing 64 percent from the field – the best percentage all year.
With sharp-shooting Gator Great Lee Humphrey in attendance, Florida shot their best from beyond the arc with 10 3-pointers made as they continued the great offensive display.
“I thought we played to our identity for the whole game offensively,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “When we don’t do that, we really struggle to score. I thought the ball moved very well, we got good shots and the biggest thing was that we had a presence at the basket with our guards and frontcourt players.”
In addition, a great display of balanced scoring led to the efficient performance. Finney-Smith scored 14 points, walk-on Jacob Kurtz had 10 and point guard Kasey Hill had 8 points, going 4-of-4 from the field and had 10 assists, while committing no turnovers.
The Gators outrebounded Yale 33-23 and stole the ball 10 times forcing the Bulldogs to commit 15 turnovers. Florida also held Yale to 34 percent shooting on the game.
Collectively this was the type of performance the Gators needed to erase the poor play of past games and begin to move forward. The players played with smiles on their faces and were relieved how everything was just clicking – a sight they’d like to see more often.
“I thought that they put together a complete game together with intensity,” Donovan said. ”We were well balanced and the ball moved.”