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No. 16 Florida pulls away from Fresno State

SUNRISE — Florida kept making Fresno State miss and kept grabbing rebounds.

Eventually, the Gators started to sink some shots, too.

No. 16 Florida won with defense Saturday, allowing its fewest points this season to beat Fresno State 66-49 in the second game of the Orange Bowl Classic doubleheader at the BB&T Center.

UF held the Bulldogs to 32 percent shooting, a season-best by the Gators. Fresno State made 4 of 17 3-pointers, including a basket from near midcourt at the final buzzer.

"This was probably our best game defensively from start to finish," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "I was happy with the way we guarded. They weren't able to score quickly on us. They had to go deep into the shot clock."

Casey Prather scored 16 for the Gators (9-2), who had a 47-24 advantage in rebounds. Prather was voted the game's most valuable player.

Fresno State (6-6) lost its third game in a row and fell to 1-5 on the road.

"It was an honor to come in here and compete against one of the best teams in the country," coach Rodney Terry said.

The Gators made 1 of 13 3-pointers in the first half, but thanks to their defense they still led 23-19. Defense was an area Donovan emphasized in practice after Florida gave up 75 points Tuesday in a win at Memphis.

"We did a great job doing things we've been trying to do in practice," Prather said. "We've just been trying every day to stay hungry as possible to get better on defense and become great defensively."

While Fresno State missed 34 shots, the Bulldogs had only nine offensive rebounds. The Gators' edge on the boards was by far their largest this season.

"We knew going in that on the glass they're a monster to deal with," Terry said.

Florida's Will Yeguete had five offensive rebounds and a season-high 10 total.

"The most underrated guy (Saturday) was Will," Donovan said. "He was awesome."

Point guard Scottie Wilbekin had 11 points and Yeguete nine for the Gators, who won away from Gainesville for the third time this season. Center Patric Young, who didn't start because of a sore knee, had eight points and nine rebounds.

HARRIS TO TRANSFER: Junior forward/center Damontre Harris has left Florida and was granted permission to transfer anywhere he would like. Harris, who transferred to the Gators in 2012 after starting at South Carolina, was suspended in the fall and never played for Donovan.

No. 16 Florida pulls away from Fresno State 12/21/13 [Last modified: Saturday, December 21, 2013 10:30pm]

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