Tuesday, November 20, 2012 10:29 pm
No. 7 Florida overwhelms Savannah State 58-40
By MARK LONGAP Sports Writer
Getting it from him every game is the challenge.
Young had 13 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high six blocks as the Gators overwhelmed Savannah State 58-40 Tuesday night.
"Patric felt like after the first three games that he should be playing at a higher level," coach Billy Donovan said. "He came out really focused tonight. ... When he plays really hard with great passion and great energy, there's no way that he should not score 15 to 20 points and he should not grab between 11 and 15 rebounds every game. He was right there."
Mike Rosario also scored 13 points for the Gators (4-0), who played the final 13-plus minutes without leading scorer Kenny Boynton.
Boynton sprained his left ankle when he landed on an opponent's foot while driving to the basket. The O'Connell Center fell almost completely silent as athletic trainers helped him off the court. Boynton went to the locker room, returned to the bench a few minutes later and then left for good with 7:47 remaining.
Donovan said Boynton could have returned and added that he likely will sit out practice Wednesday. The Gators play UCF on Friday.
"Don't feel like it's a severe ankle sprain," Donovan said. "Kenny said it was stiff, but a lot of times when you have these kinds of sprains, you always tell a lot more in the morning once they sleep. But based on his flexibility, his range of motion, those kinds of things, where he was tender, the doctor and trainer did not think that he would miss our next game."
Boynton's injury is the latest setback for Florida this season.
Forward Cody Larson left the team right before the season. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin was suspended for the first three games for violating team rules. Forward Casey Prather hasn't played since sustaining two concussions in camp. And Erik Murphy missed time with migraines.
"That's adversity for you," Young said. "As a team, I think we've taken head on though the suspensions, the injuries, coach getting upset with us, whatever it was. We fought back, we practiced hard, we didn't complain and we're 4-0."
Donovan believes all the adversity could be advantageous.
"The one great lesson that's learned: get on the train and go along with the ride," he said. "And if not, you'll be left behind and someone else will enjoy the ride. That's really what it is. The games aren't going to stop coming. They're going to keep coming."
Rashad Hassan and Cedric Smith led Savannah State with 11 points apiece. Arnold Louis added nine points and 11 boards for the Tigers (3-3).
Savannah State nearly upset UCF two days earlier. The Tigers overcame an 18-point deficit in the second half and held a two-point lead in the final 2 minutes before fading.
They weren't even close to competitive against Florida.
The Gators scored 15 of the first 17 points despite missing 14 of their first 18 shots. Young and Will Yeguete had the only baskets. The rest of the team started 0 for 11.
The Tigers, meanwhile, were even worse. They missed 12 of their first 13 shots and were down 20 points (24-4) with 3:36 remaining in the first half.
"Our guys kind of came out timid early, couldn't make shots," coach Horace Broadnax said. "We played a good defensive game, but you have to put the ball in the basket."
Savannah State made a small run, cutting the lead to 14 (28-14), but the Gators pulled away after halftime.
The only drama came when Boynton fell to the floor in pain. He went back to the locker room to start getting treatment.
He was hardly missed in what was an expected rout, since the Gators have size, speed and talent advantages at every position.
With the game in hand, Donovan put his four freshmen on the floor for the final few minutes.
Florida shot a season-low 35.4 percent and had 13 turnovers. The Gators also missed 10 of 28 free throws.
Young's performance overshadowed the problems, though.
"Patric was really alert. He played hard, he played with passion, he played with energy," Donovan said. "He made kind of a commitment to himself that he was going to play well tonight."