Sunday, January 21, 2018
Sports

Patric Young keys Gators NCAA hopes

AUSTIN, Texas — Patric Young sat among several of his Florida teammates Saturday afternoon to talk about tonight's NCAA Tournament third-round game against No. 11 seed Minnesota, but it was clear he wasn't in the mood for conversation.

He appeared a little on edge. Which is exactly where the Gators want him.

The game and the right to advance to the Sweet 16 most likely will be won in the trenches — and both Florida and Minnesota are well aware of that. What Florida needs badly is the aggressive, hustling Young who helped secure a win in Friday night's second-round game against Northwestern State.

"We need him playing with a motor …" Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "When he does what he did (Friday), not so much the scoring, but the chasing of the balls and rebounding and the defense and being in the lane and clogging it up, it makes us a better team. And we need that from him as long as we continue to play, because when he doesn't do that, we're not the same team."

The Golden Gophers led the Big Ten this season in rebounding margin (plus-8.2) and boast the league's top rebounder in senior forward Trevor Mbakwe, who averages 8.8 rebounds and 9.9 points.

"We've got to make sure we do a good job rebounding," Gators junior forward Will Yeguete said. "I think we did a good job in the second half (Friday) and we just got to keep it up, box them out and make sure we take care of the ball."

Which may be easier said than done. The Gators had nine consecutive games before the SEC tournament quarterfinal in which they gave up double-digit offensive rebounds, seven in which they were outrebounded.

The Gophers hope to put pressure on the frontcourt but are keenly aware Florida's style of play may alter that plan.

"(They are like) Wisconsin and Michigan State because they take you out of what you want to do, and they turn you over, they press," Mbwakwe said. "They switch defenses a lot. Patric Young, he claws up the front court a lot, and they have a lot of good frontcourt players."

While the Gators are battling inside, they'll also have to contain the guard duo of Austin Hollins and Andre Hollins. Andre had 28 points and nine rebounds in Friday night's win over UCLA, Austin added 16 points and the Golden Gophers scored 34 in the paint.

"He's a great scorer and he can score in a multitude of ways," UF guard Scottie Wilbekin said of Andre Hollins. "So I've really got to just be ready and I've got to count on my guys to help me if I get beat. Just be ready to contain him and don't let him get any easy shots, always have a hand in his face."

Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said his concern is his team's inconsistency and how well it will be able defend Florida's offense.

"We have been a good rebounding team, but sometimes we don't rebound," Smith said. "That's something we do well probably because we don't shoot the ball well, we have to go get the second shot — there's a lot more second shots for us. We gave up quite a few second shots, which is a concern against Florida. They're very athletic, quick to the ball, so we have got to work extremely hard to box them out."

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
What’s gone wrong with the Lightning?

What’s gone wrong with the Lightning?

It didn't take the sound of a door slamming in the dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated. Tampa Bay felt like it worked hard – at least, harder than Thursday's listless loss to Vegas – yet dropped anothe...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. ó The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia ó Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki is through to the Australian Open quarterfinals and with a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking in womenís tennis. Wozniacki beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-0 today at Rod Laver Arena. Rybarikova...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Sports in brief

SPORTSNO AIR FORCE GAMES; NFL BROADCASTS ABROAD IN JEOPARDYThe federal government shutdown prompted the Air Force Academy on Saturday to call off sports events and upended plans for military outside the United States wanting to follow todayís NFL con...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. ó Jalen Hudson came off the bench to score 17, and Chris Chiozza, Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes contributed clutch baskets down the stretch as Florida rallied to upset No. 18 Kentucky 66-64 Saturday night. "We were able to win it jus...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Avalanche climbs into playoff spot with ninth straight win

DENVER ó The Avalanche has gone from pushover to powerhouse in less than a season, and its recent streak is evoking memories of past glory. Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist each, Jonathan Bernier made 27 save...
Updated: 11 hours ago
After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

CLEVELAND ó LeBron James came up just short of 30,000 points. Oklahoma City nearly got there, too. Unable to stop Paul George, Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony, the Cavaliers were embarrassed 148-124 Saturday by the Thunder, which not only rolled...
Updated: 11 hours ago
McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates ó Rory McIlroy fired 7-under 65 Saturday in the third round of the Abu Dhabi Championship to move one shot behind co-leaders Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters. Fisher shot 65 and overnight leader Pieters added 67 to reach...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Sundayís sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMiami at N.C. StatenoonCh. 44Rutgers at MichigannoonBig TenWomen: South Carolina at KentuckynoonESPNUWomen: Marquette at VillanovanoonFS1Women: George Washington at DaytonnoonCBSSNWomen: Virginia Tech at Virginia12:30 p.m.Fox S...
Updated: 12 hours ago