Gators earn blowout win at Texas A&M

The film warned No. 10 Florida of what Texas A&M was capable of doing. The Gators took it as a challenge. The Aggies posted 83 points at Kentucky over the weekend, including 40 points from senior guard Elston Turner. The Florida defense suffocated them. The Gators held the Aggies to 47 points and held Turner to four points on 1-for-10 shooting form the field.

The plan was simple. Florida had to shutdown Elston Turner. Taking on the opposing team's leading scorer is a challenge junior guard Scottie Wilbekin welcomes, and that was the case again on Thursday.

"Give Scottie Wilbekin a lot of credit tonight," Billy Donovan said on his postgame radio show. "He did a heck of a job on Elston Turner and made it very, very difficult for him. In the first half, our defensive coverage on their team was very good. We had a couple breakdowns here and there, but on the road, to come in like that was really impressive for our guys. It started with the job Scottie did on Elston Turner."

Turner is at his best when he catches the ball and is able to create a shot on his own. When that happens, he's always capable of having a game like he did at Kentucky. The Gators tried to take that away. Florida doubled him and tried to pin him against the sideline. During the few times he was able to get by Wilbekin, the Florida (13-2, 3-0 SEC) big men were able to step up and help.

"Our big guys did a great job on Turner because you've got to provide help," Donovan said. "Scottie did a good job getting over screens, but when Elston Turner got the ball, we were in good position to pin him on the sideline. That helped us."

The defensive performance didn't just slow Turner. The Gators clamped the entire Aggies (12-4, 2-1 SEC) offense. While Turner scored 40 against Kentucky, the entire Texas A&M team didn't break 40 points until there was 2:03 left in the game.

"We got them deep into the clock," Donovan said. "When you get a team deep into the clock, even our team, sometimes guys have to go create, make a play of take a tough shot. That's what happened quite a bit.

"It wasn't a fast paced game because we didn't press a whole lot. We pressed a little bit in the first half and got a couple turnovers."

While the defense continued to dominate, the Florida offense got into gear behind 14 first-half points from Rosario. He ended the game with 19, just one point shy of the most he has scored at Florida.

"Rosario carried us to start the game," Donovan said. "We got down 4-0 and then off to a good start from there with Rosario knocking down a couple threes. We had some good things happen to us."

The Gators closed the first half on an 18-2 run to take a 35-18 lead into the locker room.

"We got a little lucky in the first half because we gave up a couple offensive rebounds that they didn't score on," Donovan said. "Then, we had a couple bad possessions on offense."

It had a similar feel to Saturday's win over LSU. However, the Gators allowed the Tigers to fight back and make the game interesting in Baton Rouge. That didn't happen on Thursday. Florida cruised through the second half and was able to rest some key players.

Erik Murphy carried the second half and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Patric Young played with a new energy and posted 18 points, seven rebounds, three steals and one block. Young also went 7-for-9 from the field.

"He did a great job," Donovan said. "He made some good moves and had good low post position where he established himself."

The Gators return to action at home on Saturday against No. 17 Missouri at 2 p.m.


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