When Florida lined up against Marquette on Thursday night, the Gators needed someone to step up and provide a quick boost.
Michael Frazier II did just that — and more.
The freshman guard notched a team-high 17 points and buried 5 of 8 three-point attempts, helping the No. 7 Gators pull away in the first half during an 82-49 victory against the Golden Eagles.
Four of Frazier’s threes came in the first half. In 22 minutes off the bench, he was 6-of-9 shooting. He also tallied two rebounds and an assist.
“What can I say? It was unbelievable out there,” Frazier said. “My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball, and shots went down. … The bucket did seem bigger than usual.”
Most of Frazier’s points came in bunches. His first two three-pointers came on back-to-back possessions and increased the Gators’ lead to 16-9 with 11:39 remaining in the first half. With Florida up by 10 late in the first period, Frazier again hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions to stretch UF’s edge to 38-22.
Frazier sunk his first four threes from the wing, and he scored his fifth from the left corner. All five of the 6-foot-4 guard’s three-point field goals were catch-and-shoot attempts.
“He was shooting a lot but hadn’t made a lot of shots lately, so I think [Thursday night] was good for him, for his confidence,” junior forward Will Yeguete said.
Frazier showcased his knack for scoring in Florida’s exhibition against Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 1. He recorded 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting and made 5 of 6 three-pointers.
But prior to Thursday night’s contest, Frazier averaged 3.4 points per game on 25 percent shooting in five regular-season contests.
“Michael’s shooting percentages [didn’t] indicate or reflect the kind of shooter he is for our team,” coach Billy Donovan said. “He’s proven in practice, he’s proven his whole career that he’s a really good shooter.”
This season, Frazier has averaged 16.8 minutes per game — the most of any Florida freshman.
“It’s the next level, playing with other guys that are better than you” Frazier said. “My teammates trust me, so that feels good.”
Frazier’s ability to rebound well at small forward has earned him extended minutes. In six games, the natural shooting guard has averaged 2.8 boards per contest.
Donovan said Frazier needs to better understand defensive schemes and rotations, but the freshman’s basketball IQ and work ethic in practice are unquestioned.
“He’s one of those guys I really enjoy being around,” Donovan said. “He’s passionate about the game, passionate about getting better and puts the time in.”