December 12, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) The only real surprise in Florida's 25-point win over Texas Southern was Devin Robinson's performance.

The 6-foot-8 freshman scored a career-high 15 points, Chris Walker added 12 and the Gators beat the Tigers 75-50 on Friday night.

Florida (5-4) never trailed, scoring the first nine points of the game, leading by 17 at halftime and extending that to a 25-point advantage late in the second half.

Although Robinson has played better in recent weeks, few could have expected this.

''Yeah, I feel like the game is slowing down a little,'' Robinson said. ''I'm going so hard in practice. At first, I was just taking the easy way out in practice. Now, I'm going harder in practice and games are just flowing.''

The Chesterfield, Virginia, native was 5-of-7 shooting and perfect from the free-throw line. He added four rebounds and two assists in his most complete game of the season. The only negative for Robinson came in the closing minutes, when he rolled his left ankle and gingerly walked off the court.

He tightened his shoelace, stayed on the bench and returned a few minutes later.

An even better sign was Robinson's 3-point shooting. He was 2 for 3 from behind the arc, making him 6 for 11 in Florida's last four games. It's a stark improvement from the first five games, when Robinson was 2 of 16 on treys and looking like he would set a school record for air balls.

''He's getting better, and I think you're starting to see him shoot the ball better,'' coach Billy Donovan said. ''Part of the reason why he wasn't shooting the ball well and shooting air balls is because he was never on balance. I think you're seeing him do a better job of moving his feet right now to get himself open to shoot the basketball. He did some good things out there offensively.''

So did Walker, whose one-handed dunk in the final seconds was highlight-reel worthy. He also had four blocks.

But Donovan criticized Walker for managing just two rebounds in 16 minutes.

''A guy like Chris Walker should dominate the glass in a game like this, and he gets two rebounds,'' Donovan said.

Michael Frazier II and Dorian Finney-Smith each chipped in 11 points for Florida, which had five players in double figures. Jon Horford added 10 for the Gators.

''That's the way we want to play, scoring balance,'' Finney-Smith said. ''One night it might be Chris, one night it might be Eli (Carter), it might be Frazier. Tonight, we had five guys in double figures.''

Deverell Biggs led the Tigers (1-7) with 18 points, three more than teammate Chris Thomas.

''We play these games against great teams to see how they play and copy what they do so our guys can see it firsthand,'' Texas Southern coach Mike Davis said. ''We have a really difficult non-conference schedule. Hopefully we can build from this and get better in our conference.''

Florida, which won consecutive games for the first time this season, was its healthiest since the second game of the season.

Carter, who missed the last two games with a sprained foot, returned and played 14 minutes. He finished with six points. Finney-Smith also has missed time with hairline fractures in his left, non-shooting hand. He added seven rebounds and four assists.

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MURPHY UPDATE

Florida forward Alex Murphy, who transferred from Duke last year, should be cleared to play next week against Wake Forest. Donovan said the Gators are counting on Murphy to play Dec. 20, but only if his grades get posted before then.

TIP-INS

Texas Southern: Tigers finished second of a 10-game road swing that includes outings at Gonzaga, Michigan State, Auburn, Kansas State and New Mexico State. ... Tigers made NCAA tournament last season by winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament. ... Tigers got $80,000 for the game.

Florida: Gators improved to 9-0 against SWAC teams under coach Billy Donovan. ... After using six different starting lineups in Florida's first seven games, Donovan has settled on the same one the last three games.

UP NEXT

Texas Southern plays at Gonzaga on Monday.

Florida hosts Jacksonville on Sunday.

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