Florida Gators 77 – North Florida Ospreys 69; Gators Unimpressive in 2013-14 Men’s Basketball Opener

It’s that time of the year again. That’s right; Florida Gators Basketball is back, though it didn’t completely begin as planned.

Billy Donovan couldn’t exactly be described as a happy camper after the game:

We are light years away from even being a remotely good defensive team right now and light years away from even being a ranked team.

-Billy Donovan, Florida Gators Head Coach

 

Donovan has plenty to be upset about though. Thought the Florida Gators won 77-69 against a respectable North Florida team, the Ospreys were able to make nine three-pointers against a Gators defense that wasn’t up to par with what we saw last year. 69 points for a team that was probably paid just to play the No. 10 Gators is too many.

Offensively, things weren’t much better for the Gators. Between Patric Young, Will Yeguete, and new transfer Eli Carter, the trio had only 7 points to show for. That’s going to have to change. Surprisingly, walk-on Jacob Kurtz outscored each of those aforementioned scholarship players with 4 points himself.

On the bright side, three Gators shined, perhaps each having his own best game in the orange and blue. Casey Prather played out of his mind, posting a career-high 28 points and accounting for more than a third of the Gators’ points. Kasey Hill was everything he was cut out to be with 15 points, 2 steals, and 4 assists running the Gators’ offense. Also great was the efficient 19 points and 9 rebounds from sophomore sharp-shooter Michael Frazier, who did everything but rain down threes in his return from the mononucleosis that hampered his health over the last month.

Things could get worse for the Gators, however, before they get better. The Gators match up against a Wisconsin team on Tuesday that is definitely better than North Florida. The Gators will miss their defensive-star point guard Scottie Wilbekin, phenom transfer Dorian Finney-Smith, and Damontre Harris for the second-straight game in each’s violation of team rules.

Baseball Recap: Florida 4 – North Florida 3; Mike Zunino Lifts Gators In 11th

The No. 5 Florida Gators were in need of some late inning heroics in order to get by the North Florida Ospreys. With the game tied at three, junior catcher Mike Zunino hit a one-run, walk-off double in the bottom of the 11th inning, scoring freshman right fielder Connor Mitchell and giving the Gators the 4-3 win.

Florida needed six pitchers to improve their record to 36-13. Freshman Ryan Harris pitched the final frame and recorded his second win of the season.

Zunino went 3-for-5, raising his batting average to .328, but a 2-for-5 performance from senior center fielder Daniel Pigott (.335) was enough to keep Zunino second in the race for team lead.

The Gators take Wednesday and Thursday off before their final home series of the regular season. Florida hosts Mississippi State in a three-game weekend series beginning Friday night at 7:00pm.

Baseball previews and recaps are sponsored by Ben Versnik and Advocare – a world-class nutrition company specializing in health and wellness, weight management, vibrant energy and sports performance.

North Florida Ospreys 10 – Florida Gators 5; Baseball Drops Second Straight

The No. 1 Florida Gators baseball team hit another rough patch on Tuesday night. In Jacksonville, FL against the North Florida Ospreys, the Gators fell 10-5. The loss was Florida’s second straight and third out of the last four games and drops the nation’s top-ranked team to 24-5 overall.

In what head coach Kevin O’Sullivan called “the worst game we’ve played all year,” the Gators allowed the Ospreys to put runs on the board in each of the second through seventh innings. Although Florida jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, it quickly became 4-1 in North Florida’s favor after two.

The Gators did manage 10 hits throughout the course of the game, but they were only enough to manufacture five runs. The Ospreys’ ratio was a little better with 13 hits producing 10 runs. It was a tough outing for Florida relief pitchers with four recording less than an inning of work.

The Gators return to the friendly confines of McKethan Stadium on Thursday to start a three-game series against the LSU Tigers. Good on one hand – Florida will be back home; not so great on the other – the No. 12 Tigers are 22-6.

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