Although the score was a little too close for comfort at times, #12 Florida (11-2) topped Richmond (10-5) in their final non-conference match-up 67-58.
Both teams traded leads throughout the second half, but the Gators got the offensive spark they needed with less than eight minutes to go when Michael Frazier II hit a three-pointer to make the score 46-45 Spiders. Florida then stayed within three points until they solidified their lead with a two-point Patric Young jumper to put them up 51-50 with about four and a half minutes remaining. The Spiders attempted a comeback but the Gators gutted it out until the final buzzer.
It’s clear that this wasn’t Florida’s best performance. The Gators missed six of eight free throws in the final minute of the game, turned the ball over 14 times and totaled only 10 assists. A plus, though, was that they out-rebounded the Spiders 44-22.
Still, a W is a W, and this W could turn out to be big come March. According to RPI, the Atlantic 10 is the seventh-toughest conference in the nation, tied with the SEC. Richmond will likely be an NCAA Tournament team and has scrapped against many opponents so far.
Frazier led Florida with 18 points and Young wasn’t far behind with 15. Cedrick Lindsay had 19 points for the Spiders.
The Gators are now one win away from tying the home winning streak at 24 games, which was set between 2006 and 2007.
Florida will next face South Carolina (7-6) at home to begin their SEC slate. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8.