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Florida Gators hold off North Florida in basketball

Florida center Patric Young (4) shoots over North Florida forward Charles McRoy (5) during the first half.
Published Nov. 10, 2013

GAINESVILLE — Michael Frazier expected to log about 10 minutes for the No. 10 Florida Gators in their season opener Friday afternoon.

Still battling the effects of mononucleosis, minus 12 pounds, Frazier expected to provide "a little" help.

Instead, the Tampa native played 24 minutes and had a career-high 19 points and a career-high-tying nine rebounds in a 77-69 win over North Florida at the O'Connell Center. Florida forward Casey Prather also had a career-high 28 points and added eight rebounds.

Yet coach Billy Donovan said North Florida possessed more grit and determination.

The Ospreys twice erased double-digit deficits, including an 11-0 run to pull within six at halftime. Guard Beau Beech led UNF with 16 points.

"I was real disappointed in our team tonight," Donovan said. "We did not show remotely close to the grit North Florida showed. So maybe our guys can learn something from them."

The Gators shot 51.9 percent in the second half but let UNF shoot 45.2 percent. Still, for Frazier the performance was a welcome surprise.

"I just started feeling back to myself (Thursday) in practice," he said.

Donovan said Friday confirmed what he has seen in practice — the Gators should be fine offensively, but defense is a concern: "We've got a long, long, long way to go. A long way to go."

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com

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