Donovan earns 400th win, Gators down Stetson 96-70
Stetson coach Casey Alexander went into Monday night’s neutral
court matchup with No. 10 Florida knowing the Hatters would need to
have a lot of things fall their way to have a chance at an
Those dominoes didn’t line up in their 96-70 loss, but there
were some small signs of progress for the Hatters heading into
Atlantic Sun play later this week.
”The only real way for us to make that a more completive game
is for us to shoot it a lot better than we did,” Alexander said.
”That, and for them to shoot it a little worse than they
Bradley Beal had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Erving Walker
added 21 to lead the Gators (5-1) in the neutral court matchup at
Amway Center. The Hatters (3-3) were led by Chris Perez with 20
Stetson lost for 17th straight time to the Gators and also
joined Florida’s history books with Billy Donovan earning his 400th
career coaching victory as the Gators rode a 16-point halftime lead
to the win.
Stetson stayed close early on before a 23-4 Gators’ run midway
through the first half blew the game open. Florida relied on its
outside shooting during the spurt, knocking down eight 3-pointers
in the half and 14 for the game. Stetson struggled from the outside
shooting 1 for 17 from the 3-point line and committing 18
turnovers. The Hatters entered the game averaging 22.8 turnovers on
As dismal as it was at times, there were highlights with Adam
Pegg reaching double-figures with 19 points and Willie Green
tossing in 11 off the bench. Alexander said those are welcome signs
heading into conference play Thursday against East Tennessee
”East Tennessee State is the most important game we’ve played
until this point,” he said. ”Coaches talk about one at a time and
talk about the journey and all of that is true, but for the
Atlantic Sun you’re gonna have one team most likely play in the
NCAA tournament…How we perform on conference is really what we
need to be focusing on.”
The Gators came into Monday night a little battered on the
injury front after starting forward Erik Murphy tore the meniscus
in his right knee in practice . Swingman Casey Prather was also
nursing a groin strain, but did suit up against the Hatters.
Will Yeguete started in Murphy’s place for the second straight
Even with a short bench the Gators still attack the Hatters with
their press on defense and were pretty effective keeping them off
balance with Stetson committing 12 turnovers in the first half
alone. Florida also had 14 steals in the game.
It all helped Florida get several open looks in transition from
the outside and the Gators took advantage of them.
Florida took a 16-point lead into the break, but led by as many
as 22 in the opening 20 minutes.
The Gators kept their cushion by connecting on 8 of 20 shots
from beyond the arc in the half, while Stetson knocked down just 1
of 10 attempts.
Stetson trailed just 15-12 early on before Florida went on a
23-4 run that made it 38-16. The Hatters held 18-17 rebounding
edge, though, and responded with a 13-0 run to get within nine
before the Gators ended the period on a 9-2 spurt.
Beal had three of Florida’s first-half 3’s and led all scorers
with 12 points.