Fantasy Football 2014:

Gators shake off Spiders down the stretch

The SportsXchange

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- After trailing much of the second half, Florida scored nine straight points to regain the lead midway through and held off upset-minded Richmond, 67-58, on Saturday.

The Gators outscored the Spiders, 11-0, from the 4:48 mark in the second half until guard Kendall Anthony finally hit a runner in the lane for Richmond with 1:06 remaining.

Richmond (10-5), which had not lost a game in regulation since Nov. 23, but did suffer two overtime defeats in that stretch, fell behind almost right away.

It was 18-11 after a basket by center Patric Young midway through the first half and No. 12 Florida seemed on the verge of a blowout victory.

Florida (11-2) outscored the Spiders, 20-10, in the paint in the first half. But Richmond's 5-foot-8 Anthony scored five points and forward Derrick Williams added a bucket in a 7-2 run to end the half and cut the margin to 25-23 at the break.

"We came into the game with a lot of heart, we were tough," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "There were some things we could have handled better, but as far as effort, confidence and toughness, that cannot be questioned."

Gators coach Billy Donovan said he was "disappointed" in the lack of senior leadership in the first half, but thought it was better in the final 20 minutes.

Florida had a 21-11 rebounding advantage but made only 1-of-9 shots from 3-point range in the opening half. Both teams were below 42 percent overall from the field.

Guard Cedrick Lindsay (19 points) and Anthony (15 points) hit consecutive 3-pointers at the outset of the second half to give Richmond leads of 26-25 and 29-27.

It was the first time the Spiders had been in front since forward Deion Taylor's 3-pointer put Richmond up, 3-2.

The Spiders, who came into the game with eight wins in their last 15 meetings with ranked opponents, led, 35-31, with 13:11 remaining.

But Florida guard Mike Frazier, who has made at least one shot from behind the arc in all 13 games this season, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put Florida back on top.

"Before the game, I felt like we were kind of flat," Frazier said. "(Assistant) Coach (Rashon) Burno came over to me and told me, 'You need to get the guys going because we look flat.'

"At the start of the game we were flat, we didn't have a lot of energy. But as the game went on, I think we did a good job of keeping it up."

Lindsay, who had 14 3-pointers the entire season, hit his second and third of the game to put the Spiders back on top.

It was 46-42 after a basket and free throw by Anthony with under nine minutes remaining.

"Frazier's threes kept the lead from going from four to six or eight and that helped," Donovan said.

Young (15 points, six rebounds) and forward Casey Prather (12 points, seven boards) both had baskets and a foul shot to

put the Gators back on top.

Forward Dorian Finney-Smith hit his first 3-pointer and Florida led, 58-50, with under four minutes to go.

"I think we've been improving every game," Young said. "This game we probably could have been a little more focused on scouting and whatnot. but overall, going 11-2 in non-conference games is pretty good and we've got momentum going into conference play."'

Frazier (18 points), Young and point guard Scottie Wilbekin hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to lock it up.

"If we were a bunch of seniors, I'd say this might be where we are as a team, but we have four sophomores who are working really hard to get better, so we have improvement in our future," Mooney promised of his Spiders.

NOTES: Florida came into Saturday with the nation's fifth-longest winning streak (22) and two shy of the school mark of 24. ... The Gators have held opponents to 22.4 points an outing in the last five. ... Richmond's 23 points was its lowest first-half total this season. ... Neither team made a free throw -- a combined 0-for-2, both by the Spiders -- before center Patric Young hit one of two for the Gators with 11:34 to play in the game.

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