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Casey Prather was the unexpected but definitely welcome surprise of SEC basketball this weekend. His performance in that Virginia game may have been the fuel that willed these Gators to victory.
The Gators looked bad early. Their only real saving grace was the defense forcing the Cavaliers to shoot as bad.
To help stimulate the Gators' offense, Billy Donovan had to get his team on track, and the answer turned out to be...Casey Prather?
Not Kenny Boynton or Bradley Beal or Patric Young. Not even Mike Rosario or Scottie Wilbekin. It was Prather, who is averaging 1.5 points on the season, that came into this game and led the charge to the Gators' ultimate victory.
When the team needed points, Prather scored. When they needed rebounds, he was cleaning up the boards. He was an active presence out there against Virginia, particularly on defense. During a 9-0 run by Florida coming out of halftime, Prather scored five of the points that put the Gators out of reach.
His 6-of-7 shooting was efficiency the Gators needed, and his four rebounds were a big part of the game since a few were putbacks.
Prather was an unbelievable story for the SEC this weekend and becomes a name to watch not just for the remainder of the NCAA tournament but for the rest of his future with Florida.