In his final game before Thanksgiving, Patric Young feasted against an undersized Savannah State team Tuesday night.
Young notched his second double-double of the season and had a career-high six blocks in Florida’s 58-40 win against Savannah State in the O’Connell Center.
“He came out really focused tonight just to play with energy and play with passion,” Gators coach Billy Donovan said.
The Gators struggled offensively in a grind-it-out game reminiscent of something fans would see in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida shot just 35.4 percent from the floor, scoring a season-low 58 points.
Because shots weren’t falling, the team needed a strong performance from its defense. Led by Young, that is what it received.
Savannah State shot just 34.8 percent from the field and scored just four points in the first 16 minutes of the game.
“Offensively we were not great tonight at all,” Donovan said. “If we didn’t defend like we did all game, we would have been in a dogfight until the end.”
Young ensured the Gators would stay unbeaten with his effort on both ends of the floor.
He scored 13 points and collected 11 rebounds in the game. Most importantly, he was able to stay on the court.
Foul trouble has plagued him for much of his career in a Gators uniform. Tuesday, he managed to commit just one foul despite playing aggressively.
“I know a lot of scouts were concerned with be being able to stay on the court with foul trouble,” Young said. “Today I did a pretty good job of staying out of foul trouble but still getting six blocks.”
Savannah State’s Stephen Wilson felt the brunt of Young’s explosiveness in the second half. Wilson appeared to have a clear path to the basket before Young caught him from behind and blocked his shot much to the delight of the partisan crowd.
Young said the play reminded him of his hellacious block against Florida State’s Bernard James last season.
“He thought he had a wide-open dunk, and I just knew as soon as I jumped I was going to get it,” he said.
Donovan said he respected Young’s hunger to be better than he has been this season. Through three games, Donovan said Young was “up-and-down” and was hoping to get more consistency from his big man.
Young brought that consistency Tuesday, as he was the most aggressive, physical man on both ends of the floor.
“We needed him to be aggressive on the defensive end and also on the offensive end be around the rim as much as he could tonight,” senior Mike Rosario said. “I thought he did a great job of making plays for our team.”
The lone complaint from Rosario, who also scored 13 points and combined with Young to run an effective pick-and-roll offense, was Young’s finish on an alley-oop he assisted on.
“I was just hoping it was going to be a windmill, but I was just happy to get the two points,” Rosario said.