GAME STORYGainesville, FL - Freshman guard Anthony Roberson went 3-for-4 from behind the arc in the second half to lead the University of Florida men's basketball team to a 74-62 victory Monday night at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
"I knew coming in here that we would be very challenged in this basketball game," head coach Billy Donovan said. "They played a very good game. I thought they came in here with a lot of intensity and a lot of pride."
"I'm happy we won, but I think the reason we won is because we had some guys who made some
shots. I think we had eight minutes in the second half where we played very intense."
Roberson finished the game with 16 points and has scored in double figures in five consecutive games. Senior forward Matt Bonner scored a team-high 17 points and added six rebounds, three assists and a block.
The Buccaneers went on a 12-2 run during the first 10 minutes of the game but the Gators came back to finish the first half down by two.
The Gators reclaimed the lead at the 10:47 mark in the second half on a foul shot by senior guard Brett Nelson. Roberson scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half to spark a Florida victory.
"I was not going to let my team go down, I was going to go down fighting," Roberson said. "I just refused to lose."
Freshman Matt Walsh scored 14 points for Florida and senior guard Justin Hamilton added 13 points, six assists and six steals.
The Gators made 10-of-13 free throws in the game and hit 12 three points. Tonight's win was Florida's 34th consecutive over non-conference opponents at home.
The Gators host Bethune-Cookman Saturday, Dec. 28 at 1 p.m. at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL NOTES
* Florida suffered two dry spells in the first half, going for over 4 minutes without a field goal two different times. During the first period (18:04-12:50) Charleston Southern went on a 12-2 run to take a seven-point lead. During the second period, the Buccaneers went on a 9-0 run to take a 20-30 lead.
* Florida has now won 19 consecutive winter break contests.
* Florida has now won 34 consecutive games against non-conference opponents at home.
* Florida is now 4-0 against Charleston Southern and a perfect 7-0 against the Big South Conference.
* Florida took its first lead since the 17:31 mark in the first half with 10:47 remaining in the second half on a Brett Nelson free throw.
* Four Florida players scored in double figures tonight.
* Florida made 10-of-13 free throws tonights. Florida has shot .807 (46-of-57) over the last three games.
* Florida continued its trend of hot shooting from downtown. The Gators made 12 threes today. IT is the fourth time this season they have made 10 or more threes in a game. Florida is averaging 10.1 threes per game in the last seven games.
* Tonight's attendance was 8,824.
* After totaling only five points in the first half, Anthony Roberson scored nine points in the first nine minutes of the second half and finished the game with 16 points
* Roberson has scored in double figures in five consecutive games.
* Matt Walsh is 17-of-18 from the free throw line in the last two games.
* Matt Bonner has only missed one free throw in the last three games. He has shot 11-for-12 from the line the last three games.
* After averaging under eight points per game in the first
three games, Matt Bonner has scored in double figures every game since, that is
eight consecutive games in double figures.
From Florida Players and Coaches:
Head Coach Billy Donovan
On the game:
"I knew coming in here that we would be very much challenged in this basketball game. I know there are terms you use such as "cupcake" but I knew that was not going to happen here tonight based on watching film on Charleston Southern and the understanding of the elements we were dealing with. A double overtime game, a lot of guys playing a lot of minutes and the guys getting ready to get out of here for a few days. I think this was the best possible time to play us at any point during the year. I don't think our basketball team responded very well at all from a maturity standpoint and being able to come out really focused and ready to play. Obviously, I'm the one that is in charge of that and for whatever reason we didn't do it. I'm happy we won, but I think the reason we won is because we had some guys who made some shots, Anthony Roberson and Matt (Bonner) made some big shots. I think we had eight minutes in the second half where we played really intense."
On Florida's defense:
"I can tell you going into the game we expected to press them and try to play man-to-man. We couldn't defend them and we had to play zone 95 percent of the time."
On Charleston Southern:
"They played a very good game. I thought they came in here with a lot of intensity, a lot of pride. I thought their kids played very hard and very well and probably, for the post part, outplayed us."
On Anthony Roberson:
"The thing with him is that I did not feel in the Miami game that he had great energy. I did not think that in this game he had great energy. Knowing him, I think that when he gets challenged or our team is challenged that he steps up. I wish I could get him to bottle the energy that he played with against Florida State and against South Florida or with the five or six minutes that he played here in the second half. If I could get him to play like that all of the time then he becomes very special. He understands that and he is trying to work at that."
Freshman Anthony Roberson
On his play:
"I didn't come out too intense in the first half. I came out in the second half. Coach gave us a big half-time speech. I knew Coach was going to put me in soon, so I just put it on my shoulders, knowing I was going to knock down some big shots. I was not going to let my team go down, I was going to go down fighting. I just refused to lose."
Senior Matt Bonner
On his play:
"Fatigue was an issue for me. It wasn't physical, like Coach said it was mental, coming off an emotional double overtime game. That's my fault. I'm a senior that shouldn't happen. I came out a little lethargic in the first half and wasn't as focused as I should have been."
From Charleston Southern Head Coach Jim Platt:
On the game:
"Well, that was a good basketball game from start to finish. I'm appreciative of our team because I thought that they came into Gainesville and competed…To play three games in a row, Michigan, Tennessee and Florida, all on the road, is a tough stretch for us and we were hopeful that we could continue to become more competitive as time went on, and I thought we took another step forward today."
On Florida's second-half performance:
"It's difficult over forty minutes…I thought as the game went on, especially in the last ten minutes of the game, we gave them some looks and those guys are just incredible shooters and so it kind of wore on us…I thought that their superiority shone through in the last few minutes."
On Florida's toughness:
"Billy's (Donovan) done such a great job not only having outstanding players but he's made them tough. I thought that his club's toughness showed through in the last four or five minutes when the game was on the line."
On his young players:
"We've got some young guys and I thought they did a nice job…I think the experience of them coming into an environment like this only helps. Playing teams at this level should be a great confidence booster for our club."
COURTESY UF SPORTS INFORMATION DEPARTMENT