December 08, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) After blowing an 18-point lead at Kansas last week, Florida wasn't about to let another big lead slip away.

Michael Frazier II scored 18 points, Dorian Finney-Smith added 14 and the Gators dominated Yale 85-47 on Monday night.

Florida (4-4) led by 26 points at halftime, but came out of the locker room with the kind of effort and intensity missing against the Jayhawks and quickly turned it into a 49-point game.

The Gators cruised from there, finishing with a season-high 10 3-pointers and ending a two-game losing streak.

''We've still got a long way to go, so we can't be satisfied,'' Frazier said. ''But I think we're moving in the right direction.''

Florida controlled the game from the opening tip, taking advantage of size inside and athleticism outside to get any shot it wanted and make Yale work for everything. It got the Bulldogs out of rhythm and kept them off balance all night.

The result: Yale looked nothing like the team that upset defending national champion UConn three days earlier.

Justin Sears led the Bulldogs (8-3) with 15 points. Jack Montague, whose 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left beat the Huskies, finished with eight points.

''I don't know that we played our style of basketball at any stage of the 40 minutes,'' Yale coach James Jones said. ''We need to make sure we get back to what we do.''

Florida had a lot to do with it by pressing, trapping and switching defensive looks.

The Gators shot 64 percent to go with 18 assists, 10 steals and a 33-23 rebound advantage. Yale made just 16 of 47 shots (34 percent) and finished with 15 turnovers.

''You're going to have a stinker, and it's not a bad thing to have a stinker somewhere where it doesn't count for your conference play,'' Jones said.

For the first time since the season opener, Florida put two halves together.

The Gators opened up a double-digit lead early and never let up, running the floor, getting transition baskets and finishing with a whopping 52 points in the paint.

Chris Walker had a career-high 13 points for Florida, and walk-on Jacob Kurtz chipped in 10. Kasey Hill finished with eight points, 10 assists and no turnovers.

It was the complete game Donovan has been seeking all season.

''I'm not so sure we came in with a high level of humility into the season without playing any games,'' Donovan said. ''It's always easy to have an inflated opinion of yourself before you actually compete. Because our schedule's been really challenging, we got a dose of the truth and we been forced to have to deal and confront the truth.''

Frazier got things going early, a good sign considering he made 17 of 55 shots (30.9 percent) the last five games.

''We don't need him to necessarily score,'' Donovan said. ''We need him to take open and good shots, and when he does that, it creates spacing and it creates opportunities for other guys. Sometimes, when you're a really, really good shooter, it's not you that benefits. It's the other guys around that benefit because of spacing.''

HELP COMING: Florida played its second straight game without guard Eli Carter, who is dealing with a sprained left foot. His absence left Donovan with just seven scholarship players available. But Carter should be back soon and forward Alex Murphy, who transferred from Duke last fall, will be eligible by the end of the month.

TIP-INS

Yale: With the win at UConn, Yale became the second Ivy League team to knock off a defending national champion since Princeton beat UCLA in 1996. ... The Bulldogs' schedule includes 10 teams that made the postseason last year, including five selected for the NCAA tournament.

Florida: Walk-on Zach Hodskins, who was born without a left hand, got in the game and missed his only shot. ... Gators had been under .500 for the first time since the end of the 1988-89 season. ... Florida improved to 8-2 against Ivy League teams.

UP NEXT

Yale plays at Vermont on Dec. 18.

Florida hosts Texas Southern on Friday.

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