With Patric Young coming off the bench for the first time all season and Kenny Boynton struggling from the field, the Florida Gators defeated Marquette last night 82-49 in the SEC-Big East Challenge and a rematch of last season’s Sweet Sixteen match-up.
Young was benched from starting by head coach Billy Donovan for an apparent lack of effort in practice.
“Things that happen in practice dictates who starts.” Donovan said after the game.
“For Patric yesterday, in particular, he didn’t practice at the level I thought he needed to. I thought in a lot of respect his attitude was not conducive to our team getting better, improving, growing. Instead of focusing on Marquette we’re not focused on what we should be focused on in practice.”
“It was more his effort, his attitude, his disruptiveness in practice that caused me to say ‘you know what you’re not starting tomorrow’ we’ll see how your attitude is tomorrow.”
Apparently his attitude changed quickly. Coming off the bench he played like Donovan’s been trying to get him to play rebounding, blocking shots, going after steals and loose balls, and just being the disruptive force his size dictates he should be. Young finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists.
“Give Patric credit he responded with a great effort,” Donovan said. “He played really, really hard he gave great effort on the backboard, he gave a great effort defensively.”
Donovan wanted to be sure that Young didn’t get painted in the wrong light with his benching.
“Patric Young is a great kid, represents our school in a great way,” Donovan said. “I think my job as a coach is to bring out the best in Patric Young as a player.”
Leading scorer Kenny Boynton, meanwhile, struggled all night from the field finishing with 6 points on 2-11 shooting adding 5 assists.
Luckily, with the Gators tremendous balance, they didn’t need his scoring. Freshman Michael Frazier came off the bench to lead all scorers with 17 points on 6-9 shooting and 5-8 from three point range. Forward Will Yeguete put in another fabulous performance shooting 5-6 from the field and finishing with 11 points with 7 rebounds and a blocked shot. More importantly than his scoring is Yeguette’s defense which can best be described as “frustrating”.
“He’s kind of like, I won’t say he’s a snake,”teammate Patric Young said, “but he has a bunch of tricky things he can do with his body that can frustrate somebody offensively with his defense. I can see how that could really get under somebody’s skin to make them lose focus.”
Mike Rosario added 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists while power forward Erik Murphy added 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 blocked shot. Forward Casey Prather finished a perfect 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from the line adding 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist off the bench.
Guard Vander Blue led the way for the Marquette Golden Eagles finishing with 20 points on 8-14 shooting. Marquette was held to 41 percent shooting and 25 percent from three point range by the suffocating Gator defense which has held opponents to 26 points or less in 10 or their 12 halves this season. They also turned the ball over 14 times.
Next up for the Gators is a tough road match-up with rival Florida State on Wednesday December 5. Tip off is 7 pm eastern in Tallahassee and will be live on ESPNU.