Florida 66, Fresno State 49: Gators' rebounding and strong second half lead to win

Joel Auerbach

Florida and Fresno State set back basketball in their woeful first half. Then the Gators found a semblance of their game, and got a win.

Florida 66, Fresno State 49 is a satisfying result — and one that the Gators fully desereved after a forgettable first half against the Bulldogs.

Florida shot just 30 percent in that first half, and made one of 13 threes, relying on good defense and Fresno State's own offensive futility to get a 23-19 halftime lead. Things changed after the break, with Florida roaring out to a double-digit lead with a 21-9 run in the second half's first 10 minutes, and giving little ground down the stretch.

Casey Prather, who led Florida with 14 points, helped with that lead-building, but the Gators' primary strength on the day was their offensive rebounding: Florida snagged an incredible 25 offensive rebounds on 32 missed shots, for an absurd 78.1 offensive rebounding percentage. All four Gators seniors — Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete, Patric Young — had at least six rebounds, and the scoring on second shots helped cover for a poor day of finishing that produced just nine Florida assists.

On a day when the clangs from distance were plentiful, it was also strange Kasey Hill's two field goal attempts came on threes — which he made — and to see Hill outscore Michael Frazier, who made one of his five attempts from long range.

Florida will now enjoy an eight-day layoff before welcoming Savannah State to the O'Connell Center on December 29, and is poised to enter SEC play with an 11-2 record, if it can handle that Savannah State team and Richmond at home.

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