Florida defense continues to suffocate teams

Saturday went a familiar way for No. 3 Florida. Strong defense, dominating the glass and scoring enough points to win -- it's a recipe that has turned the Gators into one of the elite teams in the country. Florida won its 13th straight game on Saturday, tying the school record with 13 consecutive conference wins while cruising to a 69-36 victory over Texas A&M.

"We talk a lot about the energy we have to exert on every possession for us to be a good defensive team," Billy Donovan said. "There's a certain standard that you have to play to."

The standard was met on Saturday.

The 36 points allowed by Florida ties the school record for fewest points allowed in a Southeastern Conference game since 1950. It was also the fewest points the Aggies have scored in a game since 1955.

The Gators have given up 30 or more points in just two of the last 10 halves played. Florida has also allowed 22 points or less in four of the last six halves. The defensive effort continues to impress as the Gators continue to pile up the wins.

Texas A&M shot 25.9 percent (14-54) from the field and 20 percent (4-20) from behind the three-point line.

"This team, even though we're still improving, we are getting better," said Florida center Patric Young, who had a career-high 14 rebounds. "You can se that. We're making strides in the right direction. No one is going to be able to touch us here at home if we keep playing like this."

The Gators also moved to 19-2 for the third time in program history. The previous two times came in Florida's back-to-back national championship seasons. The 33-point win also pushed Florida average home win in conference games to 24.3 points.

The Aggies only recorded five offensive rebounds. Florida outrebounded Texas A&M 57-27 and gave up just two second-chance points. Young's 14 rebounds led the team, but Will Yeguete had 10, Dorian Finney-Smith had nine and Michael Frazier has eight.

"I was really chasing the ball today," said Young, who turned 22 on Saturday. "If coach would've kept me in, which I wanted, I would've had 17 rebounds at least. I was able to jump and really go after it today. In doing that, I was able to come up with 14 of them."

Young's energy jumpstarted the Florida effort on Thursday at Mississippi State, and it carried into Saturday's game. He was all over the floor, blocking two shots and highlighting the game with a follow up dunk in the first half.

"I thought he was great today," Donovan said. "His energy was very good. I'm going to tell him every day was his birthday. He had a great motor, didn't get many touches but got to the free throw line. He just had a really good energy and chased balls. He was physical and defended."

The Gators will look to push their home winning streak to 28 games on Tuesday when they host Missouri at 9 p.m. McDonald's All-American freshman Chris Walker will make his first appearance in a Florida uniform in the game.


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