Frazier helps Florida crush Marquette
by David Jones, USA TODAY Sports
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Seventh-ranked Florida had six players score in double figures, led by Michael Frazier’s career-best 17 points off the bench — 12 in the first half — to roll to an easy 82-49 win over Marquette on Thursday night in the SEC-Big East Challenge.
“What can I say, it was unbelievable out there,” Frazier said. “My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball and the shots went down tonight.”
The game was are match of sorts. Florida (6-0) beat Marquette 68-58 in the Sweet 16 last March to advance to its fourth Elite Eight in six years but both teams have replaced key pieces of those teams.
The game was attended by close to two dozen scouts. One of the main players they came to see, Gators center Patric Young, did not start. It was called a coach’s decision based on attitude and practice performance. He finally checked into the game almost five minutes in and made a quick impact, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds to pace Florida’s 37-23 advantage on the boards.
“I believe (Florida coach Billy Donovan) sees me as something far greater than I see myself,” said Young of his coach’s frustration with his junior post player and the decision to bench him for the start.
Donovan called Young disruptive in practice, adding: “His attitude is not conducive to our team getting better.”
He hoped the benching was a wake up call.
Young’s bucket inside and a basket by Casey Prather, who scored 11 points and didn’t miss any of his four shots from the field, pushed the lead to 20-11. Florida took its first 10-point lead at 23-13 on a 3-pointer by Erik Murphy, who had 10 points.
The Golden Eagles (5-2), whose only previous loss this season was 72-71 to Butler in the EA Sports Maui Invitational, cut it to seven a couple of times. The Gators led 26-19 at the 6:53 mark in the first half when Marquette went ice cold — scoring just five more points in the opening half and getting shut out in the first 4:53 in the second … [For more on Frazier helps No. 7 Florida crush Marquette 82-49, click here.]