No. 11 Florida thumps Georgia 77-44 in SEC opener
- Article by: MARK LONG
- Associated Press
- January 9, 2013 - 8:04 PM
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Mike Rosario scored 19 points, Erik Murphy added 11 despite playing with a broken rib and No. 11 Florida opened Southeastern Conference play with a 77-44 victory over Georgia on Wednesday night.
The Gators improved to 12-5 in league openers under Donovan, including 7-0 at home. They also extended their recent dominance against the Bulldogs, winning for 16th time in the last 19 meetings.
The latest one was no big surprise since the Gators (11-2) have played well most of the season while Georgia (6-8) has struggled against just about everyone on its schedule.
The Bulldogs, though, had won four in a row after losing six of seven. Georgia turned the ball over 19 times and fell to 0-3 against ranked teams this season.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the team's lone bright spot, led the Bulldogs with 11 points.
Rosario made 6 of 10 shots from the field and all four from the free-throw line.
Murphy's night was even more impressive.
Coach Billy Donovan called Murphy "doubtful" Monday because a broken rib under his right arm. Murphy went through shoot-around Wednesday and felt good enough to play with a protective pad around his rib cage. He made 3 of 6 shots from 3-point range.
Patric Young chipped in 11 points for the Gators, who shot 52.7 percent from the field and made 12 of 26 shots from 3-point range.
Casey Prather, who started in place of Murphy, scored the first three baskets of the game. He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Will Yeguete had been expected to start over Prather, but the power forward injured his right knee in practice and was scratched from the starting lineup. He played sparingly, was scoreless and kept ice on his knee while on the bench.
The injuries were the latest setback for Donovan's team.
Point guard Scottie Wilbekin was suspended to start the season and has played lately with a broken finger on his shooting hand. Reserve forward Cody Prather left the team a few days before the season opener. Prather missed several games because of multiple concussions. Murphy missed practice time because of migraine headaches. Young was benched for a lack of effort in practice.
Donovan probably could have rested several of them against Georgia.
The Gators opened up a double-digit lead in the first 6 minutes, extended it to 24-9 on Rosario's floater in the lane and really pulled away after halftime.
Florida hit five consecutive 3s to turn a big lead into a laugher. Wilbekin got the run started, hitting one from just outside the top of the key. Michael Frazier II, Rosario and Murphy followed his lead, with Frazier hitting two. The flurry of outside shots made it 53-26 with 12:05 remaining.
It was 70-36 after Rosario's third trey — the 11th of the night for Florida.
The Gators coasted from there, getting bench players in for the final few minutes.
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