Florida Offense Struggles Without Young

When Patric Young went out in the first half because of foul trouble, the Florida offense took a hit. The Gators were able to keep the game close until the second half when the offense was able to shoot the ball more effectively. Florida head coach Billy Donovan didn't think that was a coincidence. Young opened up the floor for the Florida shooters to get going in a 72-68 loss at Syracuse.

Patric Young got his second foul in the first half with 11:38 remaining until halftime. The game was tied at 14 at that point, and Cody Larson was forced off the bench. He wasn't effective, recording just one turnover in six minutes played, and the Gators went to a smaller lineup with Will Yeguete and Casey Prather playing down low.

Florida played tough defense to stay in the game until it was the second half.

"I was pleased that we were only down by four, considering that Patric had only played four minutes," Billy Donovan said on his post game radio show. "We really became one-dimensional on offense because we didn't have a presence at the basket. I thought we weathered, with our defense, them going on a run."

The Gators shot just 37% in the first half with Young on the bench for all but four minutes of it. In the second half, Syracuse was forced to respect Young near the basket, and the Gators shot 53%. It most notably helped the three-point shooting. The Florida guards shot 21% from behind the arc in the first half and 50% in the second half with Young out of foul trouble.

When Young was off the floor, Will Yeguete played well. He had ten points and seven rebounds while going 5-for-8 from the field in 31 minutes of play.

"He has always been a guy that rebounds when he plays minutes," Donovan said. "My biggest fear coming into this game was when he'd catch the ball in the middle of the zone, could he make a play? He did a phenomenal job passing it and made good decisions. This will be a game that lifts his, and Casey Prather's, confidence."

The Gators turned the ball over 20 times, ten in each half, and gave Syracuse 16 points on fast breaks. The Orange came into the game fourth in the country in turnovers forced a game because of their 2-3 zone defense, and that trend didn't change Friday night.

"We had a couple plays where guys made the right play, and they reached in with length and made plays," Donovan said. "They do that to you. I thought (offensive rebounding and turnovers) were the difference in the game. They outrebounded us, but I think a large part of that had to do with Patric being out in the first half."

The Gators fell behind by as many as nine points in the second half but tied it with 10:44 remaining. That's when the Syracuse zone turned up the heat and pulled out a victory.

Florida fell to 5-2 on the season, but with the other loss coming at Ohio State, there isn't much to be ashamed of.

"It's a game that we can build off," Donovan said. "We've played two top-five teams on the road. These are going to help us down the road. It's always disappointing when the kids give that kind of effort and come up short."

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