After missing Monday’s practice with a migraine that caused bouts of vomiting, Erik Murphy did it all against Wisconsin on Wednesday night.

The senior forward had a perfect shooting night, tying his career high with 24 points as the No. 10 Gators (2-0) surged past the No. 22 Badgers (1-1) during a 74-56 victory in the O’Connell Center.

“It was just our night from the first half,” Murphy said. 

“We were hitting shots. There’s nothing else to say.”

The 6-foot-10 senior’s 10-for-10 clip helped Florida nail 61.9 percent of its field goal attempts. 

The Gators scored 43 points on 75 percent shooting in the first half and led wire to wire.   

Murphy grabbed eight boards, including four on the offensive end. 

He also notched a block and a steal. 

“Mr. Versatility is what you should call him,” junior Patric Young said. 

“He knocked down threes. He knocked down pull-ups. He was in the post making moves. He was getting offensive rebounds. I’ve known he’s been able to play like that for a long time.”

Murphy became the fourth player in Florida history to hit all of his field goal attempts while taking 10 or more shots in a game.

After taking 51.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc last season, Murphy took eight of his 10 shots against Wisconsin from two-point range.

Dating back to last season, Murphy has pulled down eight or more rebounds in four of his past five games. He recorded eight or more rebounds only four times in 97 career games before the current stretch. 

Florida committed 20 turnovers on Wednesday but compensated with advantages in rebounding (40-21) and points in the paint (32-18). 

“To score 74 points against this team, with the way they are defensively, and turn the ball over 20 times is unheard of,” coach Billy Donovan said. 

“I just told the guys to keep moving the ball, moving bodies and keeping passing so we could move them around. When we did that, we were effective.”

Redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario recorded 15 points and four rebounds. 

Senior guard Kenny Boynton scored 10 points but went 1 for 5 on three-pointers. The duo combined for seven assists and seven turnovers.

“The thing I was most proud about with our guys [Wednesday night] is we turned it over too much, and I probably kept Boynton … and Rosario on the floor too long,” Donovan said. 

“Those guys really fought through for not having a normal rotation.”

The Gators once again played without two of their best defenders — juniors Scottie Wilbekin (suspension) and Casey Prather (concussion) — but held the Badgers to 35.6-percent shooting. 

UF disrupted Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan’s Princeton-style offense by changing its coverages and pacing. 

“I felt that it would be important to not let them get into any kind of flow,” Donovan said. 

“(We were) just trying to keep them off balance a little bit.”

Florida opened the game on a 9-0 run in the first five minutes of play. 

Wisconsin cut UF’s lead to two points with 9:26 remaining in the first half, but the Gators responded with an 11-3 run. 

Florida led Wisconsin by 12 points at halftime and built its lead to 17 with 16:09 remaining in the second half. 

After that point, Florida continued to ride Murphy as it dominated the remainder of the contest. 

“It just shows how much [Murphy has] committed,” Rosario said. 

“With that little cold or whatever was going on with him, he just put that to the side and he knew that he had to step up his game.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything. Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person. Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts. Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.