Just when it appeared thoroughly ready to tackle a daunting run
of games, Florida learned it might not have one of its top shooters
for at least the near future.
With Erik Murphy likely out again, the No. 10 Gators will try to
continue gearing up for that stretch as coach Billy Donovan seeks
his 400th win in a matchup with Stetson on Monday night in
Florida had rebounded nicely from an 81-74 loss at No. 3 Ohio
State on Nov. 15, averaging 92.0 points and 50.0 percent shooting
over three consecutive wins. The Gators (4-1) have built that
momentum ahead of a stretch that includes a trip to No. 4 Syracuse
on Friday, a home game against Arizona on Dec. 7, a matchup with
No. 25 Texas A&M in Sunrise, Fla. on Dec. 17 and a visit from
Florida State on Dec. 22.
Florida, though, got some bad news when Murphy was diagnosed
with a torn right meniscus. The junior, who suffered the injury in
practice Thursday, is averaging 10.0 points and 53.8 percent
shooting while going 8 of 14 from 3-point range on the season.
He was on crutches during a 107-62 win over Jacksonville on
Friday, during which his teammates shot a season-best 55.2 percent.
Kenny Boynton had a team-leading 22 points, his third straight
contest with at least 20, and Erving Walker scored a season-high 21
against a team that upset the Gators last season.
“I felt like this game was the best game we’ve played in terms
of how I envision our team playing offensively and defensively,”
said Donovan, who has earned 364 of his 399 wins while at
Murphy’s replacement in the lineup, Will Yeguete, just missed
becoming the sixth Florida player to score double figures Friday,
finishing with eight points and nine rebounds despite being limited
by foul trouble.
While the diagnosis for Murphy wasn’t positive, Donovan learned
reserve swingman Casey Prather’s pulled groin wasn’t as bad as
initially feared. Prather was cleared for light work Saturday and
might play in the Gators’ 66th matchup with the Hatters (3-2).
Boynton scored 12 points in the most recent meeting, a 74-46
Florida win Nov. 15, 2009. The Gators were 1 of 13 from 3-point
range in that contest but head into this one having made at least
11 attempts in all five games.
Stetson allowed Charleston Southern to go 7 of 11 from beyond
the arc in the second half while giving up 51 points over the final
20 minutes of a 73-64 defeat last Monday.
Sophomore guard Aaron Graham had five of his team’s season-high
13 3s and scored 17 points before fouling out in the final
With a 17th consecutive victory over the Hatters, the Gators
would match their longest active win streak against an opponent.
They won 17 in a row over Rollins, a team they last faced in