Florida Fights Through Quick Turnaround

If the Gators were tired from the quick Thursday-Saturday turnaround, they didn't show it. Just 36 hours after returning to Gainesville following a win at Ole Miss, Florida used a strong second half to. The short turnarounds usually affect teams in the second half as the game goes on and their legs get tired. For Florida, it was the opposite.

The Gators knew this would have to be a game they fought through the quick turnaround and lack of energy because of the preferred style of play against Mississippi State.

Florida used the full court press a majority of the game. Dee Bost, Rodney Hood and Arnett Moultrie are near the top of the list for minutes played in the SEC coming into Saturday's game, so Donovan knew there would come a point where they started to wear down.

The Bulldogs play with just seven players, as only two players came off the bench on Saturday, so going with the press and forcing Mississippi State to hurry up its tempo played into Florida's favor.

"They run their offense and the game gets shortened," Donovan said. "They're only playing seven guys that are very good, but you don't want them to dictate tempo."

In the second half, Florida players could see it in the opponent's eyes. With eight minutes left and the Gators holding a four-point advantage, Florida burst out on an 11-0 run that put the game away at the under four-minute timeout.

The plan worked just the way Florida drew it up. They forced Mississippi State to run on both ends of the floor, and late in the game when it was close, the Gators were able to put it away.

"Our energy was great," said Erving Walker, who scored ten points with four assists and no turnovers. We actually wore them down. Bost, Hood and Moultrie play a whole bunch of minutes, so we figured that if we'd keep banging at them the whole game that they would wear down eventually. I think they were tired."

Brad Beal said he could see that the Bulldogs were getting tired and he knew a run was coming. He started the run with a three-pointer from the corner and scored the final bucket of the 11-0 run when he drove through the lane and created a layup.

"We can turn it on," Beal, who led the Gators with 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field. "Once we saw that they were wearing down, Coach Donvoan just told us to keep pushing. We have great depth on our team, so guys have fresh legs. They were walking the ball up the court, so we really felt we were pressuring them a lot on defense."

The defensive scheme centered on Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost. The senior was a First Team Preseason All-SEC selection dictates the tempo of the offense, whether or not he wants to run the ball up the floor. In the half court offense, the Gators trapped him after any screens to force the ball out of his hands. Bost still tied for the team lead with 12 points.

"We wanted to make him throw the ball to someone else," Donovan said. "When he's coming off a pick and roll, there are so many options for him. He can score and he can pass. Everybody comes into play when he comes off the pick and roll with the ball in his hands. Being aggressive with him is important."

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