Jackson St overwhelmed in opener at No. 8 Florida
When Jackson State coach Tevester Anderson fills out his next
ballot for the coaches’ poll, he knows one team that’s going to be
near the top: Florida.
Anderson was clearly impressed with the eighth-ranked Gators
during Friday night’s season opener.
Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton scored 19 points apiece and
Florida handled Jackson State, 99-59.
”I have a vote in the Top 25 coaches’ poll, and I’m going to
vote them higher than what they are right now,” Anderson said.
”They are a much better basketball team than we voted them in the
initial vote. … They are a solid team in every facet.”
Jenirro Bush led the Tigers with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
He was 6 of 9 from 3-point range. Kelsey Howard added 14.
It wasn’t nearly enough.
The Gators were bigger, faster, stronger and simply better at
every position. That’s why Jackson State got $80,000 to play in
Gainesville. Nonetheless, this one was more of a mismatch than
Florida built a 30-point lead midway through the first half and
started the second half with a 15-0 run that turned a lopsided game
into a laugher. The rout surely gave the Gators extra confidence
heading into Tuesday night’s game at No. 3 Ohio State.
It also showed Anderson that his inexperienced team, picked to
finish third in the Southwest Athletic Conference, has a ways to
”I think (Florida) shot the ball continually from behind the
3-point line and they can play,” he said. ”I know this is our
first game and we have a young team. They have a much more
experienced team and their players played well tonight.”
Jackson State, which went 17-15 last season and finished second
in the league, has one returning starter, Bush.
The Tigers had their problems exposed, especially with 24
turnovers – 16 of them in the first half. Florida stopped pressing
after the break.
Jackson State also had no answer for Rosario, Boynton and
freshman Bradley Beal.
Rosario averaged 16.7 points a game for Rutgers in the 2009-10
season. He transferred to Florida and had to sit out last
”It’s been a long, bumpy road for me, but I wouldn’t trade it
for anything in the world,” Rosario said. ”I wouldn’t take back
the whole year I sat out. I would trade It for nothing because I’m
around a great group of guys and I feel like we have a great, great
goal to accomplish this year.”
Rosario finished 7 of 12 from the floor and 5 of 8 from 3-point
range. Beal added 14 in an off shooting night. Sophomore Patric
Young had the first double-double of his career, finishing with 12
points and 10 rebounds. Erving Walker chipped in 10 points.
The Gators had little go wrong in the opener.
Much of Florida’s success came off turnovers and from behind the
3-point line. The Gators scored 37 points off 24 turnovers and made
13 of 30 shots from behind the arc.
Rosario led the way from long range.
”He can really shoot,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said.
”Mike shot the ball very, very well from behind the line. … When
the floor’s spaced like it is, there’s so much shooting out there.
Mike just happened to be on the receiving end of knocking down a
lot of shots.”
Florida made seven of its first nine shots and never looked
The Gators should get a much tougher test against the
”I’ve been through the best of the best in the Big East,”
Rosario said. ”For us to have our second game of the season
against Ohio State, and me coming back this year to play, it means
a lot because now you get to really, really compete against the
best of the best and I’m looking forward to it.”
Jackson State faces Ohio State next Friday.
Donovan expects to find out more about his team against the
”It’s one of those games where things you’ve got to get better
are going to get exposed,” he said. ”We’re going to have to
address something coming out of that game. Something’s going to get
exposed that we’re going to have to look at and you guys will ask
me, `Is that going to be a problem for the whole entire year?’
”Really good teams expose things that you have to get better