Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M hung with Florida for about 15 minutes in College Station. Then the Florida went to that place where few other teams can breathe, and suffocated the Aggies for a 68-47 victory.
Elston Turner, fresh off a 40-point outing against Kentucky at Rupp Arena, hit a jumper to cut Florida's lead to 21-18 with 5:35 to go in the first half of Thursday's game against Texas A&M in College Station.
With 3:04 to go in the half, it was 31-18. At halftime, it was 35-18. At 16:08 in the second half, it was 41-20. When it was over, Florida had a 68-47 win and a spotless SEC record.
When Florida hits that gear? Whoosh.
The Gators got 18 points and seven rebounds from Patric Young, a game-high 19 points from Mike Rosario in his return to action after an ankle injury, and 16 points and seven rebounds from Erik Murphy in the victory, and improved to 13-2 on the season and 3-0 in SEC play with the win, their first in College Station.
And Florida did it largely with that 20-2 run, sure, but the defense that produced the 2 was better than the offense that poured in the 20. Turner, who was wearing Scottie Wilbekin like Johnny Manziel's backwards hat all night, shot 1-for-10 from the floor, and scored just four points; J'Mychal Reese led all A&M starters with 10 points, and needed 10 shots to get them. The Aggies' leading scorer on the night was Alex Caruso, who put up 12 points ... all but one of them coming after Florida took its 41-20 lead.
That lead would swell to 28 points, at 60-32, before A&M's bench outplayed Florida's in the final minutes, but the Aggies' eyes were swollen shut long before then. Florida looks every inch and every pound the SEC's heavyweight this season, and has now dusted three mediocre conference teams by 23, 22, and 21 points.
In fairness, that declining point differential is a little worrisome. At the rate of one point per game, the Gators should have to go to overtime against a conference foe in ... April?