Southeastern Louisiana falls 82-43 at Florida

December 19, 2012

Southeastern Louisiana was prepared to let No. 8 Florida take as many 3-pointers as it wanted.

Coach Jim Yarbrough just didn't want his team to get dominated in the paint.

He was pleased with the effort, not the result.

Brandon Fortenberry scored 15 points, but the Lions were outmatched in every facet of Wednesday night's 82-43 loss to the Gators.


''We are giving good effort,'' Yarbrough said. ''It's our efficiency that's bothersome.''

The Lions struggled in the first half on the defensive end and were downright awful on offense after the break.

The Gators (8-1) shot 57 percent in the first half and led 43-26. Things really got ugly after that.

Southeastern Louisiana (1-8) went 7 minutes without a point to start the second half, falling behind 50-26 before Fortenberry's driving layup.

''With a team like that, they don't need much of an open door to break through,'' Yarbrough said.

Mike Rosario led Florida with a season-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists, helping the Gators bounce back from a loss at No. 4 Arizona four days earlier and winning their only home game over a 40-day span.

Rosario made 8 of 13 shots, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range, and enjoyed his best game since transferring to Florida from Rutgers after the 2009-10 season. It came on the heels of a 16-point night against the Wildcats.

It's a big swing for a player coach Billy Donovan criticized earlier in the season. Donovan called Rosario soft before the season, and then ripped him for turnovers and a lack of defensive effort last month.

Rosario has responded as well as Donovan expected.

''I think he has really conformed, he's worked and I think it's shown in his play,'' Donovan said. ''He's much, much more disciplined, much more responsible, much more accountable. I feel like I know what I'm getting from him from day to day. That's the most difficult thing to deal with as a coach, when you have a talented player and you don't know who's showing up and who you're going to get from day to day.

''He's kind of put it together, become more responsible, reliable and accountable, and because of it, I think he's playing well.''

Rosario was no match for the Lions, who have lost five straight.

He hit consecutive 3-pointers late in the first half, turning an eight-point game into a double-digit lead. He followed with two more baskets, giving him 10 consecutive points. Maybe his most impressive play came in the closing minute of the first half, when he grabbed a rebound and made an athletic move toward the basket.

He could have flirted with a triple-double, but Donovan played reserves for the final 5 minutes of the lopsided game.

Pat Young and Michael Frazier II were the only other Florida players in double figures. Young had 10 points and five rebounds; Frazier had 12 and six.

Southeastern Louisiana did some things well. The Lions handled Florida's press until a flurry of turnovers in the final few minutes and kept Young, Will Yeguete and Erik Murphy from dominating inside. Florida finished with 30 points in the paint and only outrebounded Southeastern Louisiana 40-30. The Gators, though, made 10 of 32 shots from beyond the arc.

''We were prepared to give up 12, 13, 14 3s as long as we could keep that paint ours,'' Yarbrough said. ''We did a pretty good job.''