Murphy’s putback helps No. 16 Florida

Florida’s Erik Murphy was in the right place at the right time.

Not that he planned it that way.

His putback with 16 seconds left kept the Gators out of trouble

after Florida State’s Michael Snaer made a 3-pointer and No. 16

Florida beat the Seminoles 55-51. Sunday night.

”Honestly, it was luck,” Murphy said. ”I just turned around

and looked and the ball was falling into my hand. I just went up

with it.”

Kenny Boynton scored 14 points for Florida and Murphy led the

Gators with six rebounds.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton expected to see Florida

throw a zone defense at his taller club, but he’d hoped his team

would handle it better.

”They played us all zone and they don’t do that very often,”

Hamilton said. ”They were a lot more aggressive attacking the

basket. We didn’t attack.”

Florida State shot just 33.3 percent against the smaller,

quicker Gators and their leading scorer on the season, Chris

Singleton, was just 2 of 12 from the field.

”We were struggling to score regardless and I just decided to

go maybe with our better defensive team,” Florida coach Billy

Donovan said.

The Seminoles (5-1) couldn’t get over the hump, closing to

within a single point on three occasions late in the game – the

last time at 49-48 on Deividas Dulkys layup with 2:26 left.

Snaer’s career-best fifth 3-pointer of the game cut Florida’s

lead to 53-51 with 51 seconds left before Murphy’s basket. Snaer

helped Florida State get back into the game after falling behind by

13 points early in the second half.

”We missed out on a very good opportunity tonight and it’s back

to the drawing board,” said Hamilton, whose Seminoles host third

ranked Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten challenge on Tuesday.

Snaer, who missed just once from long distance, scored 15

points.

”He brought us back basically by himself,” Hamilton said.

The Gators (5-1) opened a 53-48 lead with 1:20 left on two free

throws by Murphy coming just 17 seconds after two by Boynton.

Florida made 17 of 25 free throws while Florida State scored six

points from the line. The Gators also had a 35-31 rebounding

advantage.

It was the first real test of the season for Florida State,

which won its first five games by an average of 22 points over

inferior opponents. The undefeated Buckeyes handed Florida its only

loss of the season, 93-75, Nov. 16 in Gainesville.

The Gators led almost from the start, taking advantage of poor

Florida State shooting on its way to a 30-21 halftime lead and led

by as many as 13, at 41-28 early in the second half. Murphy made a

3-pointer from the top of the circle with 3 seconds left before

halftime.