Florida Insider: Gators need to stick together

Florida learned an important lesson in its 85-83 double-overtime loss at Rutgers.

For the Gators to win, they need to play together.

Florida (11-3) responded from a selfish outing against Rutgers with better ball movement in a 90-70 win over Yale on New Year’s Eve. In the Yale win, the Gators finished with 24 assists to just seven turnovers.

“I still think we’re figuring out there is going to be a level of sacrifice inside of our team that everyone is going to have to make to a certain extent,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

In the Rutgers loss, Florida wasn’t able to share the ball as well. The Gators finished with 14 assists to 18 turnovers and failed to hold a seven-point lead in the final 2:04 of regulation. Florida center Patric Young had just five shot attempts in regulation in the Rutgers loss.

Against Yale, Young scored eight of UF’s first 29 points and finished with 19 points.

“I probably got 15-plus touches and it all equated out to good things for our team,” Young said. “The ball has to go inside-out. That’s Florida Gator basketball, the ball going inside-out and jumping around everywhere.”

NOTES, QUOTES

With the loss at Rutgers, Florida dropped to 0-3 on the road this season. UF’s other two road losses were at No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 Ohio State. The Gators are 7-0 at home and 4-0 on neutral courts. It is the first season since 1993-94 that Florida has played three road games in its non-conference schedule. In the 1993-94 season, Florida played at Texas, at Villanova and at Jacksonville.

Florida F Erik Murphy has picked things up on the defensive end since returning to the starting lineup after missing three games with a knee injury. Murphy tied a career-high with three blocked shots against Yale and had eight rebounds against Rutgers. “That’s part of my role,” Murphy said. “I’m trying to get better at that. That’s something I’ve got to work on as much as I can.”

Murphy credited his defensive improvement to increased film study. “I’m trying to get better at positioning,” Murphy said. “I think when I was hurt I wasn’t really doing much of anything so I was watching a lot of film.”

Florida went 12-of-21 from 3-point range against Yale to increase its total to a nation-leading 154 3-pointers this season. Against Yale, Florida got 10 of its 12 3-pointers from two players — Kenny Boynton (5-7 from 3-point range) and Erik Murphy (5-of-7 from 3-point range.)

BY THE NUMBERS: 40-54 — Assist-to-turnover ratio in UF’s first three losses this season.

QUOTE TO NOTE

“The main emphasis for us is when we are on the court, be happy for everyone. We wanted to make extra passes and offensively, we felt like we could have made more good passes against Rutgers and gotten more good shots.” — Florida junior G Kenny Boynton, following UF’s 90-70 win over Yale on New Year’s Eve.