Young reaches 1,000 points in Florida's rout of Savannah State
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP)
Although Pat Young wasn't keeping count, everyone around him was.
Even coach Billy Donovan.
Young received a standing ovation as he left the game with 5:41 remaining, waving to the crowd as his achievement was announced.
''About the 8-minute mark, I said, `Pat, I'm going to put you in. I'm going to run some plays at you,''' Donovan said. ''He said, `Well, Coach, I don't want to force anything.' That's just kind of the kid he is. We put him in there to get that done today and just happy it happened.''
Young topped the 1,000-point plateau on a putback with 7:15 to play. It came shortly after he stepped to the free throw line with a chance to join the club. The senior clanged it off the front rim, drawing groans from the crowd. He made amends, though, a few minutes later.
''The fans kept reminding me, `Four more, Pat. Two more. One more,''' Young said. ''Before the last game, I didn't even know how close I was. I didn't care about it until they told me, `You're this amount of points away.' I was more conscious of it then.''
And now he's relieved it's over.
''I've just been very fortunate to be on winning teams and to be here overall under Coach Donovan,'' Young said. ''I couldn't walk and chew gum when I first got here. So I can do a few more things now. I just want to thank him for believing in me and helping me get better.''
Young was one of four Florida players in double figures. Michael Frazier II finished with 11 points for the Gators (10-2), who have won four straight and nine of 10. Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin chipped in 10 points each.
Jyles Smith led Savannah State (2-11) with eight points and eight rebounds. The Tigers have lost nine straight.
''Florida had their way,'' Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax said. ''It wasn't too much of a lack of effort on our part. We just weren't able to make it interesting.''
It was Florida's 22nd consecutive home win, two shy of the school record set in 2007.
The Gators dominated from the opening tip, getting any shot they wanted against the undersized Tigers.
Florida used two double-digit runs to make the game a rout, outscoring Savannah State 12-0 early and then 14-0 a few minutes later. The Tigers went 5:47 without a basket before enduring an 8:12 scoreless stretch.
Florida led 34-11 at halftime and coasted from there.
It had to be a somewhat different feeling for the Gators, who had eight days off after a brutal stretch that included games against Florida State, then-No. 12 Connecticut, then-No. 13 Kansas, then-No. 15 Memphis and Fresno State. It marked the first time in Donovan's 18 seasons in Gainesville that Florida played consecutive non-conference teams ranked in the top 15.
The only thing worth watching in the second half was Young's countdown to 1,000.
He had eight points in the first half and needed only four more to reach the milestone.
Young got a layup on Florida's second possession after the break and then went nearly 10 minutes without another shot. As he stepped to the free throw line, the crowd knew what was at stake.
So did Young.
He smiled after making the first one, which put him at 999 points, but grimaced as the second free throw came up short.
No worries, though. He crashed the boards for his sixth rebound a short time later and topped 1,000 points with a tip-in. Donovan took him out at the next timeout.
''Today, he looks at it as, `Hey, that's nice,''' Donovan said. ''I think it will be something that later on his life, when he looks back on it, he'll realize that when you score 1,000 points, it's always a milestone. I was happy for him. I was happy for the way the crowd kind of cheered him on.
''Patric's been a real team guy since he's been here. He's very unselfish; he doesn't make anything about himself, and I was just happy for him that he got it tonight.''