Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Gators rebound, rout Mississippi State

GAINESVILLE — Fresh off a humbling loss at Arkansas, and with a big-time game against Kentucky looming Tuesday night, No. 2 Florida got solid support from its reserves and capitalized on exceptional first-half 3-point shooting to earn an 83-58 victory over Mississippi State at sold-out O'Connell Center on Saturday.

"You need a get-back game sometimes," senior guard Kenny Boynton said. "We did a lot of good things (Saturday). We had 21 assists, and when you have that and are hitting open shots like we were, we're going to be hard to beat. We haven't seen a lot of Kentucky yet, but we'll be focused and ready."

The Gators (19-3, 9-1 SEC) got great help from freshman guard Michael Frazier II of Tampa and junior forward Casey Prather, who will be relied upon more because junior forward Will Yeguete is out with a knee injury.

Florida missed its first five 3-pointers, then hit 5-of-6 on the way to a 31-16 lead with 7:36 left in the first half. Frazier hit 3-pointers on three of five possessions to help extend the lead.

Frazier got his first career start in place of junior guard Scottie Wilbekin, whom coach Billy Donovan said was benched for a lack of energy and enthusiasm in practice the past week.

"I was just trying to come in and help any way I can," said Frazier, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds. "My role is to bring energy to this team, and if that's starting or coming off the bench, that's what I'm going to try to do."

Prather, recovering from a high ankle sprain, had a season-high 12 points, five rebounds, one block and one steal.

"I just know I have to bring more energy to the table," Prather said.

Donovan said he was pleased with the way the Gators rebounded from Tuesday's loss but said they still need to improve, particularly on defense.

"We've got to get even more focused defensively than we've been," he said. "Looking down the stat sheet against Mississippi State (7-15, 2-8), who has struggled to score, they got right around their average, and they ended up shooting around 46 percent in the second half. That's too high of a percentage. So we've got to see where we made some mistakes, and I think some guys have got to grow and get better."

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

Comments

Friday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 qualifying5 p.m.FS1NHRA: Arizona Nationals qualifying7 p.m.FS1Baseball, spring trainingCardinals at Marlins1 p.m.FSFCubs at Brewers 4 p.m.MLBBasketballWorld Cup Americas qualifier: Cuba vs. U...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  — The Russians finally have a gold medal at the  Olympics, thanks to a 15-year-old who beat the fellow teen who inspired her to become a figure skater.Alina Zagitova won one of the Games' spotlight events Frida...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Winter Olympics: Friday’s viewing schedule

Winter Olympics: Friday’s viewing schedule

TV today5 a.m.-6:30 a.m. Saturday NBCSNSpeed skating (M) – 1,000m final (LIVE)Hockey (M) — Semifinal, Canada vs. Germany (LIVE, 6:30 a.m.)Curling (M) — Bronze-medal match, Canada vs. Switzerland (TAPED, 9:30 a.m.)Curling (W) —...
Updated: 4 hours ago
USA women’s hockey gives us a night to remember

USA women’s hockey gives us a night to remember

Our team.They're Americans, yes. But they are more than that.They're one of us. Adopted Floridians. Honorary members of Tampa Bay.And they gave us the signature moment of the Winter Olympics.USA! USA! USA!In the greatest moment in American hockey sin...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

You can bet that many Lightning fans hoped Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson jumped on Tampa Bay's bus after Thursday night's 4-3 Lightning win.Karlsson, 27, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, is the biggest prize leading up to Monday's trade...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

OTTAWA – The Lightning was encouraged it escaped Ottawa with a 4-3 win over the Senators on Thursday night.But it was really disappointed about how it had to "hold on to dear life," as defenseman Victor Hedman put it, after taking a three-goal ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Police: DeSean Jackson’s former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

Police: DeSean Jackson’s former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

TAMPA  — With no witnesses and no video evidence, Tampa Police have stopped investigating a case from Christmas Eve that had a truck belonging to Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson found wrecked and abandoned in a mall parking lot with hollow-po...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Brent Honeywell injury could be worst Rays news yet

Brent Honeywell injury could be worst Rays news yet

PORT CHARLOTTE — It might have seemed that things couldn't get worse for the Rays after an opening week of spring training that included the dumping of two veterans to harshly negative reviews, including from their own players; to the trade of ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs QB Jameis Winston uninjured in car wreck

Bucs QB Jameis Winston uninjured in car wreck

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was not hurt in a car wreck last week in which he was cited for careless driving.Winston, 24, was driving on the Veterans Expressway near Waters Avenue in northwest Tampa on Feb. 13 when his Ford F250 truck rear-ended ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Boys basketball: Wharton wins a wild one in final seconds

Boys basketball: Wharton wins a wild one in final seconds

TAMPA — Bartow held a one-point lead and time was ticking down — 12, 11, 10 seconds left — when Wharton guard Darin Green pulled up near the foul line and released the ball over a defender's fingers toward the hoop.Swish.Bartow got ...
Updated: 5 hours ago