GAINESVILLE — When the hustle stats are tallied up daily in practice, Florida freshman Will Yeguete is generally right at the top. So his performance Thursday was not a surprise to his teammates and coach Billy Donovan.
The Bordeaux, France, native had a game-high 15 rebounds and seven points in Florida's 105-55 victory over North Carolina A&T in front of 8,092 at the O'Connell Center. Yeguete was three rebounds shy of the freshman mark by Al Horford (Feb. 5, 2005, in win vs. Alabama).
"Coach gave me some playing time, so I tried to go out there and give some energy," Yeguete said. "I was fresh. I didn't play (against Ohio State), so I was ready to go. I was pretty excited about playing today."
Florida (2-1) led 53-28 at halftime against an overmatched Aggies (1-3) team. Eight Gators scored in double figures, and most of the second half belonged to the Florida freshmen, something the veterans welcomed.
"It was huge for those guys to give us a spark like that," said senior forward Chandler Parsons, who had 16 points in 20 minutes. "The way we play, our style of play, press and run, up and down, transition, it's going to be important later on for them to get in there and contribute. Will was a beast on the glass. And you guys may be surprised by that, but he does that every single day in practice. It's really important for this team, as the season progresses, for all those guys to keep doing that."
Sophomore guard Erik Murphy got his first start in place of Alex Tyus, who had a streak of 72 consecutive games end due to a concussion. Murphy had 11 points and four rebounds in 19 minutes.
The victory marked the first time Florida scored 100 or more since Nov. 20, 2007, a 102-51 win vs. North Florida. Donovan wondered how his team would respond after a 93-75 loss to No. 4 Ohio State, and although he acknowledged the Aggies weren't of the same caliber, he said this game was more about the Gators.
"I was more focused on how did we play the game, what did we do regardless of who we were playing," Donovan said. "… As a coach when you see your group of kids trying to execute what you've talked about, you feel good about where their focus is. And I thought their focus was on the right things for 40 minutes."