Gators Have Another Strong Performance

Billy Donovan started to prepare his team for Monday's game against Rhode Island when their last game came to an end. After snapping Xavier's 30-game home winning streak on Friday, Donovan had a simple message for his team on the bus ride to the Cincinnati airport. It was time for them to come off a big win with another good performance, which they hadn't done all season.

His team responded with an 84-59 win over Rhode Island, who came into the game with the No. 37 RPI in the country.

"Coach D told us that we had two slip ups against UCF and Jacksonville after two big wins," freshman center Patric Young said. "He told us we were not going to let that happen again. The day after that game, of course, we had a hard practice. We had a mindset not to take them lightly."

The Gators came out of the game and played even thought the first eight minutes of the game. Holding a 13-12 lead, the Florida offense had the explosion it has been waiting for all season. The Gators went on a 22-2 run, pushing their lead to 35-14.

Chandler Parsons led the Gators with a season-high 18 points and 12 rebounds, seven on the offensive glass. It was his second double-double of the season and ninth of his career. Parsons went 7-for-12 from the field and 3-for-4 from behind the three-point line. After struggling with his shot all season, he shot the ball with confidence Monday.

"I don't think it's any mechanical thing," Parsons said. "I think (it is mental). I'm going to shoot the ball and play my game. I'm going to be aggressive and help my team out. If I hit shots, that's great. But I'm worried about the other things like playing defense, rebounding and making my teammates better."

Parsons was averaging 9.3 points coming into Monday night, but Donovan has been happy with his play. He continues to create for teammates and serve as one of the team's best playmakers.

"He still did the same things that he did against Xavier," Donovan said, noting that Parsons had only five points and four shots against Xavier. "He rebounded the ball and made plays. He just happened to have a good offensive night tonight. As a senior, I want him to take what the defense gives him. Tonight, he was open and knocked down shots."

Erving Walker had 14 points and five assists. Walker was 3-for-6 for three and 4-for-8 from the field. Kenny Boynton and Alex Tyus each added ten points.

The Gators came into the game injured, and it got worse. Will Yeguete got the wind knocked out of him after getting a knee to the hip flexor. Donovan wasn't sure about the extent of the injury.

Florida gave Young his first career start at center. The freshman scored eight points and had five rebounds. He was 2-for-2 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

Young started because Vernon Macklin had a shoulder injury. He came off the bench and played 22 minutes, exactly the number that Young played. Erik Murphy didn't play because of a foot injury suffered Sunday in practice. Donovan originally thought the foot was broken and expected him to be out 4-6 weeks. Instead, the X-rays were negative. Donovan listed Murphy as doubtful for Saturday's SEC opener, expecting he would need 5-10 days to be back to normal.

Erving Walker had a hip pointer during Saturday's practice. Chandler Parsons also had a mild ankle sprain. Casey Prather was coming off a knee issue, but chipped in with eight points in ten minutes, including a thunderous dunk from the baseline to end the game.

Florida will host Ole Miss (12-3) on Saturday at 8 p.m. to open conference play.


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