Florida center Patric Young screamed, waived and threw his arms up to the crowd as the shot went down, and this was all on the sideline as he was ready to check back into the game.
The sophomore center had a career high last night with 25 points and 10 rebounds as the Florida Gators held off the Arizona Wildcats 78-72 in overtime on their home floor in Gainesville, FL. Young made 12-of-15 shots and had a few thunderous dunks and some layups that fell in his favor, but it was the grind-it-out mentality that the Gators had that sent Arizona home with a loss. Still, head coach Billy Donovan wanted more from his team and his center.
"This was a game where Patric Young should have taken 40 shots in the game," Donovan said. "Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton need to do a better job of reading what's going on inside the game.
On a night when guard Kenny Boynton was only held to nine points, Young exploded with post moves around the basket, although head coach Billy Donovan said he wanted more from his young center and got contributions from guys like Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario and Erving Walker.
Arizona, who was without star freshman point guard Josaiah Turner because of a suspension for violating team rules, was in the game all night long and found themselves up seven with just under six minutes left to play in the game.
But the turnovers are what hurt the Wildcats all night and despite taking the lead at halftime on a eight-foot runner by Kevin Parrom, who was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this season, the Wildcats were outplayed in the second half. The Wildcats had 17 turnovers in comparison to Florida’s 10 and were really just playing a bigger team with more of an interior presence.
For Arizona head coach Sean Miller, it was about the final minutes of regulation, when Arizona gave away a seven-point lead in the final six minutes.
"If we're disappointed in anything, it's that we lost our poise a little bit down the stretch, with a couple of turnovers," Miller said. "And we really had two defensive rebounding opportunities (late) that might have sealed the game.”
Florida looked like they had the game sealed but with five seconds left in regulation, Arizona forward Solomon Hill took the inbounds and drew a foul on Florida guard Casey Prather which forced head coach Billy Donovan out of his seat and prompted him to scream “No way!”
But Erving Walker came up big in the extra period, scoring seven of his 14 points despite a bad shooting night for both him and Kenny Boynton. Sean Miller weighed in on the Gators as a whole after the game: "The difference was they were the bigger team. They killed us on the glass. They are in fantastic shape. They play really hard and they wore our team down”, Miller told the Arizona Daily Star.
For the Wildcats, they will have to rebound quickly, as they host Clemson Saturday at the McKale Center, but there is a bight spot for this team: They are a resilient group that play with a chip on their shoulder and play scrappy. They just need more production on the interior.
"I feel like we let it slip away," Fogg said. "But I think we played good and showed we can hang with a top-10 team."
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