No. 8 Florida outplayed by Kansas State
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No. 8 Florida outplayed by Kansas State

A week ago, the Gators felt like they let a win slip out of their hands on the road at Arizona. This Saturday in Kansas City, that wasn't the case. No. 8 Florida was dominated from the opening tip against Kansas State and was beaten in almost every statistical category. The Wildcats closed the game with a strong end to the second half to secure a 67-61 win over the Gators.

"Clearly, from start to finish, Kansas State outplayed us," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said on his postgame radio show. "We didn't do the things necessary, especially our older guys, to put us in position to win the game. We were outhustled and outworked.

"We had a lot of guys that didn't even show up and play, for whatever reason. That was disappointing. We didn't do anything we talked about the last two days."

After Kenny Boynton hit a jump shot to give the Gators an 18-17 lead with 8:47 in the first half, the Florida team looked like it was settling into the style of the game. It was a physical matchup, but that's what the Gators expected going into the game facing Kansas State.

From the second that jumper went in the basket to the end of the first half, the Gators hit one field goal — a three-pointer from freshman Michael Frazier. The Wildcats closed the first half on a 16-5 run to take a ten-point advantage to the locker room.

The offensive struggles weren't much of a surprise. Kansas State came into the game 12th in the country in scoring defense, and the Florida offense hasn't been elite in recent games. The frustrating part for Donovan was how it happened. The Florida guards and veterans played undisciplined at times.

"Offensively, we made some poor decisions. Scottie Wilbekin and Patric Young—they were really the two guys that gave us a sound game on offense," Donovan said. "We had too many drives where guys were trying to finish when it wasn't there and guys were wide open on the perimeter. We've got to get better at finding the open man."

Florida came out of the locker room with an emphasis on getting the ball in the paint. The Gators opened the half on a 12-3 run to get within one point, and big men scored eight of those points. Center Patric Young ended the game with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The offense couldn't remain consistent and maintain that attack. Instead, the guards continued to play undisciplined and lost control of the game.

"The way the game was being played, they're running out and jumping at our guards," Donovan said. "Our guards are going through the lane and we've got post players open and perimeter guys open. Our guards insist on taking these running, floating shots down the lane. "We've charted this year, and on those shots over outstretched big men's arms our guards are shooting about 12 percent. We've got to be able to drive down the lane or make a better play."

The difference came on the glass. Kansas State outrebounded the Gators 36-27 in the game, pulling down 11 rebounds as well.

"Defensively and on the glass, we were a step slow," Donovan said. "In the first half, Patric Young had more than half of our rebounds. Our frontcourt of Erik Murphy and Will Yeguete combined for one rebound in the first half. You just can't play against a great offensive rebounding team and have the kind of effort we had."