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Defense keys Gators victory in home opener

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Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:28 pm

With 7:30 left in the game, Alabama State’s Timothy Coleman went for the jumper, only to be denied by center Patric Young. Although it was only his second block of the game, Young led the No. 10 Gators’ defensively in at 84-35 win against the Hornets.

“The things you try to eliminate are easy baskets, lay ups, post moves and the three-point line,” coach Billy Donovan said. “The shots you want teams to try to take against you are tough twos. I thought in the first half we forced [Alabama State] to take a lot of tough twos, which enabled us to get on the break and get the ball inside to Patric and have a present at the basket.”

Florida got Alabama State out of its rhythm early in the game.

After Coleman made both free throws early in the first half, the Gators (1-0) went on a 22-point run keeping the Hornets (0-2) scoreless for 9:07. During that run, Florida grabbed 14 rebounds, 7 assists, a block and a steal.

Despite struggling with rebounding the last few weeks, including only recording 32 in Florida’s exhibition game against Nebraska-Kearney, UF had 50 boards on Sunday. The Gators’ defense also showcased 10 steals and four blocks.

“As a team we did a really good job of taking them out of what they wanted to do,” Young said. “They got pretty staggered on defense and they were just passing the ball around. They were taking the kind of shots we wanted them to take: long two-point shots. We did really well overall defensively.”

Young had a game-high 12 rebounds, which he paired with 12 points.

Even though the Gators started the second half with a 38 point lead, they still found areas on defensive where they could improve.

Florida had more control of the ball after half time, only giving the ball away five times compared to seven in the first half.

“It builds some confidences knowing that whenever we need to stop, or we need to execute certain types of coverage on defense, that we can do just that,” Young said. “It gives us some confidence for whoever we’re facing … if it’s Wisconsin or Marquette or whoever, that we can get a stop when we need to.”

Contact Katie Agostin at kagostin@alligator.org.

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