Florida's first test without a true point guard ended with mixed results. There won't be another.
With a difficult stretch looming for the 15th-ranked Gators, senior Scottie Wilbekin will be reinstated from an indefinite suspension for Monday night's game at Jacksonville.
Thursday's 79-59 home win over Middle Tennessee was Florida's first game without freshman Kasey Hill, who is out for at least month with a sprained ankle.
Wilbekin, the Gators' only other point guard, hasn't played this year after his June suspension, and it seemed Donovan had no plans to reinstate him to fill the hole.
"He still has stuff he has to do," Donovan said after Thursday's game. "I'm proud of him, but I'm not prepared to make any statement that he's coming back to our team."
That changed Sunday.
"He's done everything," Donovan said. "I'm really proud of him. He's really stayed on course all the way. With all that he's done to this point in time, he's going to be available."
That means Wilbekin will have a game under his belt before Florida (4-1) faces Florida State on Friday followed by matchups with Connecticut, Kansas and Memphis.
Wilbekin played a team-high 31.9 minutes per game last season for a Florida team that reached the regional finals. He averaged 9.1 points and 5.0 assists.
"He adds a huge piece for us,'' guard Michael Frazier II said. "He's our only point guard right now and he's a veteran guy, so we definitely could use him. Just having him back is really good for our team.
"In my opinion, he's one of the best defenders in the country. He's a leader for our team. He's a defensive anchor."
Frazier made his first start in the backcourt alongside DeVon Walker and scored 13 points against Middle Tennessee.
The Gators had just two first-half assists and led by eight at the break, but an 18-6 run to start the second built some distance and some confidence in a varied brand of basketball.
"Not having a point guard definitely raised our sense of aggressiveness because we were like a wounded animal," Frazier said.
Center Patric Young scored a season-high 16 points to lead six Gators in double figures. Young is averaging 12.7 points in his last three games after totaling 10 in his first two on 2 of 8 shooting.
Leading scorer Casey Prather chipped in 11 after getting into first-half foul trouble. The senior is averaging 17.6 points in his first season as a starter.
The Gators have won three straight by an average of 21.3 points while holding opponents to 56.0 points per game after losing to then-No. 20 Wisconsin on Nov. 12.
Jacksonville (2-3) is 1-12 against ranked opponents in the last decade, with the lone win coming against then-No. 20 Florida in overtime in Gainesville on Dec. 20, 2010.
The Gators won the rematch 107-62 the following year, improving to 10-1 against Jacksonville under Donovan.
The Dolphins are 2-0 at home this year, including Saturday's 76-72 victory against Florida A&M.
Three Dolphins reserves scored in double figures, led by Marcel White's 16 points. It was the second time this season their bench outscored their starters.
"I was very impressed by the guys who were coming off the bench," Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren told the team's official website. "They came in ready and played like starters, helping us balance out our minutes. It was a good team effort and we'll need to carry that into Monday."
Jacksonville went 14-18 a season ago but was 10-3 on its home court.
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