Published Thursday, January 10, 2013
BY MARK LONG
AP SPORTS WRITER
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Things got so ugly so quickly that Georgia had used three of its five timeouts midway through the first half.
And none of them helped.
Mike Rosario scored 19 points, Erik Murphy added 11 despite playing with a broken rib and No. 11 Florida opened league play with a 77-44 victory over the short-handed Bulldogs on Wednesday night.
Georgia fell behind 11-0 in the first 6 minutes and never recovered.
"Florida just overwhelmed us," Bulldogs coach Mark Fox said. "We started out in a hole, and the environment overwhelmed a couple of our kids and so did Florida's defense."
The Gators improved to 12-5 in league openers under coach Billy Donovan, including 7-0 at home. They also extended their recent dominance against the Bulldogs, winning for 16th time in the last 19 meetings.
The latest one was no big surprise since the Gators (11-2) have played well most of the season while Georgia (6-8) has struggled against just about everyone on its schedule.
The Bulldogs, though, had won four in a row after losing six of seven. Georgia shot 39 percent, turned the ball over 19 times and fell to 0-3 against ranked teams this season.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the team's lone bright spot this season, led the Bulldogs with 11 points. Junior forward Donte' Williams and freshman guard Kenny Gaines did not make the trip because they were suspended for violating team rules.
"We were a little short," Fox said.
The Gators were thin, too. But it hardly showed.
Florida shot 52.7 percent from the field and made 12 of 26 shots from 3-point range.
Rosario was 6-of-10 shooting and perfect from the free-throw line.
Murphy's night was even more impressive.
Donovan called Murphy "doubtful" Monday because a broken rib under his right arm. Murphy went through the shoot-around Wednesday and felt good enough to play with a protective pad around his rib cage. He shot 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
"I don't really think about it," Murphy said. "I wasn't thinking that. I wasn't trying to avoid contact. I don't think it's going to hinder me at all."
Patric Young chipped in 11 points for the Gators, who shot 52.7 percent from the field and made 12 of 26 shots from 3-point range.
Casey Prather, who started in place of Murphy, scored the first three baskets of the game. He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Will Yeguete had been expected to start over Prather, but the power forward has tendinitis in his right knee and was scratched from the starting lineup. He played sparingly, was scoreless and kept ice on his knee while on the bench.
"We've got to get healthy," Donovan said.
All of them got some rest against Georgia.
The Gators opened up a double-digit lead early, extended it to 24-9 on Rosario's floater in the lane and really pulled away after halftime.
Florida hit five consecutive 3s to turn a big lead into a laugher. Scottie Wilbekin got the run started, hitting one from just outside the top of the key. Michael Frazier II, Rosario and Murphy followed his lead, with Frazier hitting two. The flurry of outside shots made it 53-26 with 12:05 remaining.
The Gators coasted from there, getting bench players in for the final few minutes.
"We didn't come out ready to play," Caldwell-Pope said. "We got in a hole to start the game. ... We just laid down and gave them easy baskets."
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