Category Archives: Gators Basketball (M)

Florida’s Run Ends in NOLA, Butler Advances to Final Four

Vernon Macklin’s last game in a Florida Gator uniform didn’t end the way he envisioned despite having one of the best and most dominating performances of his career. Alex Tyus gave another valiant effort just as he did in the previous game against BYU, but fell short. There was no Chandler Parsons buzzer beater like Mike Miller’s against Butler University in 2000. When the overtime buzzer sounded for the second consecutive game in the NCAA Tournament for the Florida Gators (29-8) it didn’t end the way Gatornation had hoped either. The Butler Bulldogs had defeated the Florida Gators 74-71.

Alex Tyus opened the game for Florida with a jumper, but Butler answered with back -to-back threes, the first from about the 28ft mark.

For the first five minutes, Vernon Macklin was aggressively effective in the paint with six of the Gators’ eight points.
After the first television timeout, Butler took the lead with a quick jumper, 10-8, but Chandler Parsons’ answered with his first three pointer and the Gators took the lead, a lead they would keep throughout the first half.

Butler’s Shelvin Mack drove on Scottie Wilbekin, elbowing him in the face, but Wilbekin was called for the foul because both of his feet were not.  Billy Donovan took him out of the game, but he would return a few minutes later.

Parsons missed a layup, got his own rebound, and made the layup for a five point Florida lead. Kenny Boynton extended the lead when he was fouled attempting a three pointer, and made all three shots from the foul line.

Butler went on a 7-0 run, which was ended on a Boynton breakaway to bring the score to 27-22. Butler answered with a three to come within two.

Butler cut the lead in half with one minute remaining in the first, capitalizing on a Tyus turnover with yet another three pointer, but Walker was fouled and made both shots at the charity line to put the Gators back up by three.

Kyle Marshall’s jumper in the waning seconds of the first half brought Butler within one, and Walker’s mid court three point missed, ending the half 33-32 Florida.

Macklin ended the first half with 15 Pts. (shooting 7-for-9) and 2 rebounds, and Parsons had the lone three pointer for Florida who went 1-4 3FG in the half. Mack and Zach Hahn had all five of Butler’s threes , shooting  5-for-9 behind the arc.

The Gators were 8-8 at the free throw line, and dominated Butler down low 16-10. There were seven total turnovers by both teams in the first half.

Vernon Macklin continued his domination in the paint to open the second half with the first basket,  but another three pointer for the Bulldogs, followed by a scoreless Gator possession, and a jumper by Butler gave them the first lead since  early in the first half.

Andrew Smith and Chase Stigall were called for back-to-back non-shooting fouls, keeping the Gators in possession with the game tied at 37.
Macklin had the first six second half points for the Gators, until Tyus exploded with consecutive dunks, keeping the front court dominated by the Florida forwards, bringing the Gator lead back up to four at 43-39.

Boynton heated up the back court, hitting his first two shots of the second half, to extend Florida’s lead 47-40.
Alex Tyus intercepted a pass off of a Butler inbound, fouled by Smith, made both FTs and made an inside jumper to give Florida their largest lead of the game at 11, 51-40.

Four consecutive points by the Bulldogs cut the Gators’ lead to seven, but a Tyus tip-in off of a Parsons baseline jumper put the Gators back up by nine. Erik Murphy picked up Florida’s eighth foul before the 8-minute television timeout.

A Florida turnover resulted in another field goal for Butler, as Boynton mis-fired at the other end, Butler got the rebound, and Chrishawn Hopkins made another three for Butler, bringing them to within five with just over six minutes left in regulation.

Parsons forced a turnover and sent the ball down court for Boynton, who made the easy layup. VanZant made the second Butler 3FG in a row, the eighth for the Bulldogs from behind the arc. Young was fouled on the following possession after a Tyus miss, making both shots from the FT, and keeping the Gators a perfect 12/12 from the line, and the score in the Gators’ favor at 57-52. Butler went on a five point run with just over three minutes left in regulation to tie it up at 57.  Macklin was fouled by Smith, and missed the first free throw which was also the first missed from the line for Florida with 2:33 left in the second half.

A foul by Young sent Matt Howard to the line, where he made one of two FTs, tying the game up at 60. The Gators had the last possession of regulation, but Walker mis-fired his jumper sending the game to overtime tied at 60-60.
Florida won the overtime tip-off to open overtime, and Boynton was fouled by Smith, sending him to the Butler bench and out of the game. Boytnon missed the first FT, but made the second for a one point Florida lead. Howard answered on the other end with a layup, but would foul Macklin on the next possession. Macklin made 1-for-2, and tied the game at 62.

Marshall was fouled on a jumper by Tyus, and made the and-1, giving the Bulldogs the three point lead 65-62 with 3:33 remaining in overtime.
Florida and Butler exchanged free throws and three pointers for most of the next two minutes. With 1:07 left, Marshall fouled Walker who could have tied the game at 72 if he made both shots, but missed the first, leaving Butler at a one point advantage.

Tyus intentionally fouled Mack to stop the clock at: 10, who made both free throws, giving Butler a 74-71 lead. Walker missed a three pointer with eight seconds left, Ronald Nored grabbed the rebound but the ball was stolen by Boynton with one second on the clock. Boynton fired the last shot from beyond half court, but didn’t connect, and Butler defeated the Gators with a final score of 74-71.

The Gators are losing three starting seniors (Parsons, Tyus, and Macklin), but next season will be adding Bradley Beal, ranked the seventh best out of possible 100 according to ESPNU, and  Walter Pitchford PF.

In the locker room after the game,  Billy Donovan addressed his players: “When a group of guys decide to come together and try to become a team, like a real team, a lot of great things can be accomplished,” Donovan said. “And what happens is when you go after trying to accomplish something, there is the threat, there is the other side that the losing is even more painful because you have so much vested in each other individually.”


Gator-Mania, Not Jimmer-Mania, Advances to Elite 8

The stage was set for one of the biggest stars in college basketball to shine: this was supposed to be Jimmer’s night. When the overtime
buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read 83-74, Florida over BYU.

The night belonged to the Gators and the spotlight shown brightest on Alex Tyus.

Jimmer Fredette played for 44 minutes of the contest and was 11-29 shooting; including 3-15 from the three point range and 7-7 from the line
for a total of 32 Pts. BYU (32-5) didn’t have another player score over 10 points. Noah Hartstock (F) and Jackson Emery (G) both finished with nine points, while Charles Abouo (G) had six, and Kyle Collingsworth (G) added five.

In stark contrast, four of the five Gator starters finished the game with double digits led by Tyus’ 19 Pts. and a career high 17 rebounds.
Kenny Boynton (G) had 17 pts., while Chandler Parsons (F) and Erving Walker (G) both added 16 points to the Gators’ effort.

Boynton and reserve guard Scottie Wilbekin’s defensive effort dominated Fredette, holding him scoreless for the first 14 minutes of
the game and again through overtime.

Florida came out quickly, shooting four threes for a 20-10 lead, but only sunk three on their next 11 attempts from beyond the arch. The
Cougars had the edge in rebounds 19-17, outscored the Gators 16-10 in the paint and forced 10 Florida turnovers, but both teams were locked at 36 going into halftime.

Fredette found his rhythm in the second half, scoring 22 points and tying the game three times in the final six minutes of regulation.
Parsons missed a layup with one second remaining, sending the game into overtime tied at 68.

The Gators jumped ahead with a four point lead to open overtime, and cruised for the rest of the game. Florida’s starters looked fresh
and full energy due to Coach Billy Donovan’s use of his bench throughout regulation.

Fredette, the nation’s leading regular season scorer, was given a well-deserved standing ovation when he left the game with one minute
remaining, but it was the Gators’ celebrating their advancement to the “Elite 8” moments later, proving nine is still greater than one.


Wildcats Win, Gators Enter Big Dance as 2 Seed

When the ladder was brought out at the Georgia Dome, Florida Sr. Chandler Parsons wasn’t climbing it with scissors in hand; it was Kentucky Fr. Doron Lamb.

The No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats (25-8) defeated the No. 12 Florida Gators (25-7) 70-54 in the SEC Tournament Final Sunday. It is Kentucky’s second straight (27th overall) Tournament Championship and second win over Florida since February 1.

The Wildcats came out hitting 6-for-7 from the field and 3-for-3 from beyond the arch to take an early 14-5 lead. Freshman G Scottie Wilbekin had two strong defensive plays in an 11-3 Florida run that included eight straight points to bring the Gators within one.

Florida went ahead for their first lead of the game (20-19) on a Parsons tip shot.  A little over a minute later, Fr. Patric Young’s jumper gave the Gators their biggest lead of the game at 24-21. Kentucky responded with a 9-0 run, held Florida scoreless for over seven minutes, and led 34-29 going into halftime.

Kentucky continued their dismantling of Florida after the break, coming out with an 8-0 run to extend the lead 41-29. Florida C. Vernon Macklin and Kentucky F Terrence Jones traded back-to-back layups, bringing the score to 45-33, before both teams went scoreless for the next five minutes.

The Gators eventually found some momentum, hitting five consecutive baskets and coming within eight points, but the Wildcats never wavered in intensity, and easily continued to dominate the Gators until the final buzzer.

Florida had their second lowest shooting percentage of the season at 39% (22-57), hit 7-of-21 3FG, was 3-of-8 at the free throw line, and committed 14 turnovers. Four out of five Kentucky starters scored in double digits to Florida’s one, G Kenny Boynton, who finished the game with 10 Pts.

Fortunately for the Orange and Blue, they have bounced back from losses well all season, never losing two in a row. They’re going to need that streak to continue in the NCAA Tournament when they face UC-Santa Barbara in Tampa Thursday at 6:50 pm EST.

Two Down, One To Go…

When the Florida Gators beat Vanderbilt on March 6th they clinched the SEC Title.

Saturday, when they beat them 77-66, they earned a spot in the SEC Tournament Finals against Kentucky.

The No. 12 Gators (26-6) struggled shortly after tip-off and were quickly down 11-2, shooting 1-for-7 from the field. Florida fought back on a 13-3 run to tie the game at 128, but a 10-1 Vanderbilt run put the Commodores back up by nine. The Gators were held scoreless for a 7:15 stretch, turning the ball over 11 times resulting in 18 points for Vanderbilt, who led 36-28 at the half.

Vanderbilt opened the second with four straight points, but Florida responded with a 15-4 run to take their first lead of the game 51-50. After shooting 0-2 in the first half, Jr. Erving Walker had nine straight points and ignited fellow Guard Kenny Boynton, Soph., who hit 8-of-16 shots (5-of-9 3FG), scoring 24 points – 16 in the second half. Walker ended the day 6-for-12 (3-for-6 3FG) for 17 Pts.

Senior Chandler Parsons (SEC Player of the Year) had 16 Pts., while the bench added a combined 13 Pts. Freshman Patrick Young had eight rebounds.

Junior Jeffery Taylor led Vandy in scoring with 21 Pts., and SEC leading scorer Soph. John Jenkins was held to 10 Pts. on 3-for-15 shooting.

Florida turned the ball over only once in the second half, outshot Vanderbilt 48.3% to 36.5%, and out-rebounded Vanderbilt 38-30.

For the first time in history, the University of Florida has defeated both teams from the state of Tennessee three times in one season and the first time they have beaten any two teams three straight in one year.

The Gators will look to climb the ladder and snip the net for the first time in Atlanta since 2007, when they were the SEC Champions, SEC Tournament Champions, and National Champions. They face a Kentucky team whom they split the season with on Sunday, 1pm EST on ABC.

Gators Sweep Vols

The No. 12 Florida Gators (25-6) had already clinched the SEC Championship before stepping on the court Friday night at the Georgia Dome against the Tennessee Volunteers (19-14).

At the end of the first half, it looked like they wouldn’t make it out of the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. Outstanding shooting in the second half propelled the Gators to an 85-74 victory in Atlanta.

Florida came out early hitting six of their first eight shots, eight points from Sr. Alex Tyus, and led 25-13.

Things quickly took a turn in Tennessee’s favor on a 21-4 run. The Vols forced eight Florida turnovers, sent them to the line four times, and held them to one FG in the remaining nine minutes of the first half, leading the Gators 34-29 at the break.

In the second half, Florida stormed back on a 25-12 run and looked true to championship form. The Gators missed only three shots from the field (14-of-17) and was sent to the foul line 33 times (24-of-33) reaching bonus with more than 12-1/2 minutes left in the game. The result was a 56 point second half, the highest scoring half of the season.

Signs of frustration were evident when Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl received a technical foul for barking at officials over a call his son, Stephen, didn’t get – then followed it up by tearing off his jacket, revealing bright orange suspenders that matched his orange tie. Trying not to draw another technical, Coach Pearl sent players over twice to complain about calls. After the game, Pearl told reporters, “When you allow a team to score 56 points in the second half, or shoot the way they shot and send them to the foul line as often as we sent them you’ve got no chance to win.”

Tennessee’s leading scorer was Freshman Tobias Harris with 25 points, while all five Florida starters scored in double digits led by Sophomore Kenny Boynton’s 22 pts. Junior Erving Walker had 17 pts., Sr. Vernon Macklin 15pts., Sr. Alex Tyus 10 pts., and SEC Player of the Year Chandler Parsons, Sr. added 12.

This was the first time the teams have met in the SEC Tournament since 1989, and the first time the Gators have beaten the Vols three times in one season.

The Gators will face Vanderbilt Saturday afternoon in the Semi-finals.

Donovan, Parsons Make Gator History

Chandler Parsons, Coach Billy Donovan, Photo: AP

Voted by coaches, Coach Billy Donovan was named SEC Coach of the Year, and Chandler Parsons (Sr., F) SEC Player of the Year.

The Number 12 Gators (24-6) won their third outright SEC Title Saturday when they defeated Vanderbilt 86-76.

This is the first SEC Coaching award for Billy Donovan, despite leading the Gators to back-to-back National Championships in 2006 & 2007.

In 15 seasons as the Gators Head Coach, Donovan has amassed 355 wins, third best in SEC history trailing Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp (448) and LSU’s Dale Brown (448).

Parsons also added to Gator history becoming the first Florida player to be named SEC Player of the Year. Parsons averaged 11.4 Pts. 7.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1 steal per game this season.

Both starting guards, Kenny Boynton (Sophomore) and Erving Walker (Junior) were named second team All-SEC. Patrick young was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.

Florida will take on the winner of Arkansas-Tennessee Friday at 7:30 EST in the SEC Tournament.

Gators’ Clinch SEC, First Seed in Tourney

Kenny Boynton, defended by John Jenkins photo: AP Photo/Wade Payne

The No. 14 Florida Gators Men’s Basketball team clinched its third outright SEC Title (fifth overall) Saturday when they defeated the No. 21 Vanderbilt Commodores 86-76 at the Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville. With the win, the Gators improved to 24-6 and are the fourth team in school history to have at least 24 regular season victories.

Led by Sophomore G Kenny Boynton’s 17 points on 5-for-11 shooting (4-for-9 3FG), all five starters for the Gators scored in double digits. Sophomore G Erving Walker had 16 points (six assists), while Senior F Alex Tyus had his third double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Seniors Chandler Parsons (F) and Vernon Macklin (C) both contributed 13 points each. Sophomore G John Jenkins was the leading scorer for Vanderbilt with 22 Pts. on 9-for-15 shooting.

The Gators were struggling early in the first half before pulling ahead with a 20-5 run to lead 38-30 at halftime.

Vanderbilt closed the gap to 56-53 with 10 minutes remaining. After Jenkins was called for a charge on Parsons, Coach Kevin Stallings received a Technical foul for arguing the call. Boynton sunk both free throws and Tyus extended the lead by scoring on the next possession.

Boynton hit a 3-pointer and was sent to the line with a foul on the play. He sunk the free throw, bringing his 4-point play total to 5-for-5 on the season.

Vanderbilt went on a run with 3:56 left in the game, but Walker made four consecutive FT (10-for-10 on the day) and the Gators held on for the 10 point victory.

The Commodores ended the game shooting 59% from the field (29-49 FG), but Florida had the edge in FTs (21-12) and rebounds (35-22), including 15-3 offensively.

The SEC Champions will take on the winner of Arkansas-Tennessee in the quarterfinals of the 2011 SEC Tournament Friday 7:30 EST at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.