GAINESVILLE — His tenure with Florida since arriving as a transfer from Rutgers has sometimes been rocky, but Mike Rosario has never wavered in his belief that when he's playing his best, he's pretty good.
Rosario spent the preseason working hard to improve his work ethic, and the result was on full display against Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday night.
The fifth-year senior scored 17 of his 20 in the first half and had a season-high six rebounds to lead No. 8 Florida to an 82-43 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in front of 8,057 at the O'Connell Center. It was the sixth time this season the Gators held an opponent to fewer than 50 points.
Over the past three games, Rosario is 19-of-31 and has 50 points. He said it's a byproduct of putting together everything coach Billy Donovan has been emphasizing the past two years.
"(It's) just using what I know I do best, and I can score the ball," Rosario said. "I've been being aggressive on the offensive end, I've been being aggressive on the defensive end, and it's just creating offense for me as well. And I feel like my teammates have been getting me involved a lot, too. I've been doing my best to knock down open shots, and I've been knocking them down."
Florida (8-1) led 43-26 at halftime after shooting 57.1 percent from the field and holding the Lions to 9-of-27 from the field and 2-of-10 from 3-point range. The Gators held the Lions (1-8) to four points in the first 10:25 of the second half.
"This was a game that I thought was good for us from the standpoint that one, we won, but also it was a discipline game," Donovan said. "I thought our discipline in the second half was really good."
Despite his continued shooting slump (28.5 percent from 3-point range this season), Florida senior guard Kenny Boyton hit a 3-pointer with 9:15 left to become the fifth Gator to reach 1,700 career points.
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]