Murphy's Lay-up Helps Gators Get Past FSU

TALLAHASSEE -- Kenny Boynton led the Gators with 14 points, but it was his air ball that clinched No. 14 Florida's 55-51 victory over Florida State. Erik Murphy snuck in under the basket to catch the ball, laying it off the glass from underneath the basket to give the Gators a four-point advantage with 16 seconds remaining.

"That little lefty reverse… I'm going to patent that," Erik Murphy said with a smirk. "I didn't see him shoot it. I turned around and the ball was in my hands. It was coming for my face, so I just put my hands up. It was a little bit of luck."

Florida State forward Chris Singleton missed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left, and Seminoles guard Michael Snaer turned it over with three seconds remaining on the clock, securing the Florida victory.

"That's his shot," Young said of Murphy's basket. "Money in the bank right there."

However, the play didn't go as planned.

Billy Donovan called for a play that ended with Chandler Parsons coming on the base line to get the ball. A smirk on the Florida head coach's face preceded him admitting that luck may have had something to do with it, but there's no doubt his team will take it.

Murphy had 10 points and six rebounds in 17 minutes on the court. He hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first half that sent the Gators to the locker room with a nine-point lead.

"I'm really proud of him," Donovan said. "It was a game where he was playing well. The zone helped him because it allowed him to rebound the ball and stay in an area. The zone helped him do a lot more for our team."

The win overshadows a comeback by Florida State that almost saw them steal a victory.

The Gators stormed out to a 13-point lead with 14:30 left in the game, as Erving Walker hit two 3-point shots to give them a cushion. However, the complacency that has haunted the Gators all season began to creep in.

Florida State went on a 15-3 run to cut the Florida lead to 44-43 with 7:48 left in the game, thanks to hot shooting from Snaer. The sophomore guard counted for nine points during that run, all coming on 3-pointers.

Snear ended the game with 15 points, going 5-for-6 from the 3-point line.

"I really felt like most of his looks were wide open," Donovan said. "Anytime you're a good shooter and see the ball go in the basket and keep getting good looks, that's going to happen. He scored some of his points against our press where we trapped to early and quick, then they threw it out quickly and found him."

The Gators played a young frontcourt during most of their successful parts of the game. Starters Vernon Macklin and Alex Tyus played 13 and 14 minutes, respectively.

Instead, Donovan used Murphy and Patric Young in key situations. They were the unit that saw Florida stretch out a 13-point lead, and despite their struggles to score, Donovan thought they were the best unit to use.

"It really was the young guys who got the lead for us," Donovan said. "We came back with Vernon and Alex, and the lead went right back down to five or six. Then we had to come right back in with the young guys. I felt like we were struggling to score regardless, so I decided to go with our better defensive team. Will Yeguete and Patrick gave us better defenders and rebounders."

The win was Florida's first victory in Tallahassee since 2002, when they squeaked out with a 58-57 win. It also kept a streak alive that the Seminoles haven't beaten Florida in football and basketball during the same year since 1996.

It meant more than just keeping those stats alive. It developed depth and allowed young players to play in key minutes that will help this team down the stretch.

"That's good about this win," Donovan said. "We were fortunate enough to get this win with your older guys playing 14 (Tyus) and 13 (Macklin) minutes. It's a confidence builder for our younger guys to get in and contribute on the road like that."

The Gators return to action Wednesday as they travel to Orlando to face UCF at the Amway Center at 7 p.m.

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