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State was crushed twice by Florida last season
« en: 20 de Mayo de 2019, 09:17:43 am »
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State was crushed twice by Florida last season, once by 35 points and the other by 25. This time around, the margin was just 11. That represents progress for Mississippi State, which lost 62-51 to No. 3 Florida on Thursday night, but the gap between the Gators and the Bulldogs is still vast. "Our team is growing," Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said. "But weve still got a ways to go." Mississippi State (13-7, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) lost for the first time at home during conference play. Colin Borchert scored 15 and Craig Sword 12 for Mississippi State. Casey Prather scored 16 points, Patric Young added 12 and the Gators used a 16-4 run early in the second half to turn a tight game into a relatively easy victory. Florida has won 12 straight this season and four in a row against the Bulldogs. It was the 12th time this season Florida (18-2, 7-0) held an opponent to 60 points or fewer. "We cant always control the ball going in the basket," Young said. "But we can control our energy on the defensive end." And that energy was intense the entire night. Mississippi State shot a respectable 23 of 54 (42.6 per cent) from the field, but had to work hard on every possession. The Bulldogs briefly took a 31-30 lead early in the second half on Gavin Wares layup, but the Gators responded with a 16-4 run. Mississippi State couldnt muster the energy for a rally. Florida coach Billy Donovan said the key to stopping Mississippi State was keeping them off the free throw line. The Bulldogs had 117 combined free-throw attempts in three SEC home games this season. They were just 1 of 6 on Thursday. "A huge key was if we could defend them off the bounce and not foul," Donovan said. "I thought we did a good job there." Floridas Michael Frazier II had just nine points, but his three 3-pointers helped the Gators keep a comfortable lead throughout most of the second half. The 6-foot-4 sophomore missed his first six 3-point attempts before the last three dropped. The Gators shot 6 of 20 (30 per cent) from 3-point range and 8 of 19 (42.1 per cent) on free throws. Chris Walker, Floridas touted 6-foot-10 freshman forward, is expected to make his college debut on Tuesday against Missouri after being cleared by the NCAA. His arrival will give the Gators some much needed frontcourt depth. But Young was enough on Thursday. The powerful 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior was a consistent presence on both ends of the court, providing timely baskets and post defence. "No disrespect to Mississippi State, but theyre probably not going to win an SEC championship this year," Young said. "We have an opportunity to do that, and we need to play to a championship level." Prather went to the locker room briefly in the first half after an ankle injury, but returned to shoot 7 of 8 from the field. His baseline drive and dunk gave the Gators a 55-42 lead with 5 minutes left that ended any remaining doubt. Mississippi State had an 11-1 record at Humphrey Coliseum coming into Thursdays game and was tough once again on its home floor. Tyson Cunningham made an off-balance 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to spark an 8-0 run at the end of the first half, and I.J. Readys layup a few seconds before the buzzer pulled the Bulldogs within 27-26. Florida was coming off a dominant defensive performance in a 67-41 victory over Tennessee on Saturday, and the teams length and athleticism also gave the Bulldogs problems. But the Gators couldnt hit shots -- making just 10 of 27 (37 per cent) from the field in the first half. Nothing was easy. Young hit a couple inside buckets early in the second half and Prathers layup at the rim gave the Gators a 42-32 advantage with 12:05 remaining. Mississippi State had a couple of good moments in the second half, but Floridas superior depth, size and athleticism proved too much to overcome. Ready added 10 points for the Bulldogs. "Offensively we had our problems," Mississippi State coach Rick Ray. "I thought we had a plethora of opportunities in the first half to finish at the rim that we just didnt get done." Jake Bailey Jersey .28 mph. Logano will start on the front row next to Penske Ford teammate Brad Keselowski, who came in second Friday at 193.099. The Penske drivers swept the top two spots for the second straight race, reversing their qualifying finish in Phoenix a week ago. Damien Harris Jersey . HABS HEADED TO CONFERENCE FINAL The Montreal Canadiens scored early in Game Seven, built a lead and protected it well on their way to a 3-1 series-clinching win over the Boston Bruins. 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