Florida made 13 shots from behind the 3-point line en route to a convincing 79-61 victory against LSU at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville on Saturday afternoon.
LSU weathered a quick start by Florida and pulled within seven points at 21-14 on a 3-pointer by Shavon Coleman with eight minutes remaining in the first half. But, the Gators proceeded to hold the Tigers scoreless over the next 4½ minutes. LSU missed five field goal attempts and committed three turnovers. Johnny O'Bryant had two of the missed shots and one of the turnovers. Meanwhile, Florida scored on four of six possessions. Michael Frazier opened the 11-0 run with two 3-pointers. DeVon Walker added a 3-pointer and Dorian Finney-Smith connected on two foul shots which gave the Gators a 32-14 lead. The Tigers trailed at halftime 41-25.
KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
In order to pull an upset, LSU needed to get off to a quick start. That scenario failed to occur as the Tigers opened the game with four turnovers - two by O'Bryant - and a missed shot. In that same stretch, Florida scored on three possessions - a basket by Patric Young and 3-pointers by Scottie Wilbekin and Frazier - to take an 8-0 lead. LSU came no closer than six points the rest of the day.
KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
A field goal by Jordan Mickey and a 3-pointer by Anthony Hickey left LSU behind by 13 points at 43-30 one minute into the second half. But, Florida made sure there would be no Tigers rally. LSU didn't score during the next three minutes as it missed six consecutive shots and committed a turnover. The Gators scored on four of five possessions. Casey Prather sank two baskets, one a 3-pointer. Will Yeguete had a field goal and Finney-Smith connected on a trey. That outburst put Florida in front 52-30. The Gators led by at least 18 points the remainder of the game.
LSU'S TOP STARTER
Despite being the target of the Florida defense, O'Bryant scored a game-high 18 points. O'Bryant, who was 6-of-14 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 at the foul line, grabbed seven rebounds - five on the offensive end. O'Bryant now has 1,069 career points. He passed Jordy Hultberg and is tied with Jerry Reynolds for 36th place on the school's all-time scoring list.
LSU'S TOP RESERVE
LSU got virtually nothing from the bench. Andre Stringer, who played 29 minutes, missed six of his seven field goal attempts, including all four shots from behind the 3-point line. Stringer did hand out four assists.
LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
Facing Florida's veteran front line, Mickey recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and ten rebounds. Mickey was 7-of-13 from the field. He blocked two shots running his season total to 94 - one fewer than Stromile Swift had in 2000 and Chris Johnson had in 2009.
It was all about putting the ball in the basket. Florida, which averaged seven 3-pointers in its previous 15 Southeastern Conference games, was 13-of-23 (57 percent) from behind the 3-point line Saturday. Overall, the Gators made 57 percent of its field goal attempts (31-of-54). Meanwhile, LSU connected on just 38 percent of its field goal attempts (23-of-60), including 33 percent on 3-pointers (7-of-21). The Gators had a huge advantage in bench points, 28-2. Florida also outscored the Tigers in the paint, 34-22. LSU lost even though it outrebounded the Gators 34-29.
LSU started the same lineup for the tenth consecutive game - O'Bryant and Mickey in the post, Jarell Martin and Coleman on the wings and Hickey at point guard. . .Martin scored 12 points, but nine came in the last three minutes of the game after Florida removed its starters. Martin made two 3-pointers and grabbed six rebounds. . .Coleman had another low-scoring game with three points in 28 minutes. Coleman has scored fewer than ten points in seven of the Tigers' last nine games. During that stretch, Coleman is shooting 41 percent from the field (27-of-66). Coleman, who did have two steals, was guilty of three turnovers. . .Hickey scored 12 points on four 3-pointers. He was 4-of-9 on shots behind the arc. Hickey had just one assist and one steal with two turnovers. . .Florida's point guard Wilbekin had 11 points, four assists and two steals with two turnovers. Wilbekin was 4-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-5 on 3-pointers. . .Finney-Smith came off the bench and led the Gators with 16 points. He made four 3-pointers. Both Prather and Frazier scored 14 points. Frazier made four treys. . .Backup point guard Kasey Hill had five assists in 21 minutes. . .LSU committed 15 turnovers - four by O'Bryant. . .In 26 of the Tigers' 28 games this season, the team with the higher field goal percentage has been the winner. . .LSU has lost six consecutive games to Florida by an average of nearly 16 points. Its last victory against the Gators came five seasons ago. . .LSU is 17-11 overall, 8-8 in the SEC. The Tigers are tied with Ole Miss, Missouri and Texas A&M for sixth place. . .Florida is 27-2 overall, 16-0 in the SEC. The No.1-ranked Gators have won 21 consecutive games and 31 straight home games. . .The paid attendance was 12,589.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Johnny Jones
"This game says a lot about that team (Florida). They sit there having already clinched the (conference) championship. Their guys still came out and played motivated and hard. When you have a senior team like them and guys are able to make plays like that, some great things are going to happen for you. Florida is used to winning."
LSU will play Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym in Nashville on Thursday at 8 p.m. The Commodores (15-13, 7-9) lost to Tennessee 76-38 on Saturday afternoon in Knoxville. The LSU-Vanderbilt game will be broadcast on ESPN2.