COLLEGE STATION (AP) — Texas A&M’s Elston Turner was coming off the best game of his career.
No. 10 Florida made sure the senior wasn’t able to build on that performance.
Mike Rosario scored 19 points and Patric Young added 18 as the Gators cruised to a 68-47 victory over the Aggies on Thursday night.
It was a letdown for Texas A&M (12-4, 2-1 Southeastern Conference), which was coming off an 83-71 victory at Kentucky on Saturday. Turner scored a career-high 40 points in that win, but managed just four points Thursday on 1-of-10 shooting.
The Aggies led by one point midway through the first half before a big run by the Gators gave them a 35-18 halftime lead, and they didn’t let up in the second half.
Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy knows it’s difficult for Turner with A&M not having another major scoring threat to take pressure off of him.
“Their team defense was good,” Kennedy said. “He’s also had nights like that. When you have one primary scorer against a good defensive team … they just physically wore him down and did a good job on him.”
The Gators were proud of their defense on Turner, who entered the game averaging 17.1 points a game.
“We just didn’t give him a chance to do what he wanted to do,” Young said. “We made him really uncomfortable. Being able to limit a guy that just scored 40 points in his last game was huge.”
It is the fifth straight win for Florida (13-2, 3-0) which is in the midst of playing four of five games on the road.
Jordan Green had 12 points for the Aggies, while J’Mychal Reese added 10.
“We lost to a very good team,” Kennedy said. “They were more physical than us at every position … their maturity and their toughness I think was evident.”
Texas A&M scored five straight points, capped by a layup by Kourtney Roberson, to take a 14-13 lead about 9:30 before halftime.
The Gators answered with a 22-4 run over the rest of the first half to take a 35-18 lead. Erik Murphy scored seven points in that span, including a 3-pointer, and Young had six points capped by a dunk to help the run.
Murphy finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
The Aggies had four turnovers and missed seven shots, including two layups in that span.
“They’re very, very hard to guard,” Kennedy said. “But I think people don’t give them enough credit for their defense.”
Florida entered the game ranked third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 52 points a game. Things were no different on Thursday as they limited A&M to a season-low in points on 34 percent shooting.
The Gators have held eight opponents to less than 50 points this season, and 11 to less than 60.
Florida was playing without Casey Prather, who is out 10 to 14 days with a high-ankle sprain. But they were helped by the return of Rosario, who missed a win over LSU on Saturday with a sprained left ankle.
The Gators scored the first four points of the second half to extend their lead to 21 points and the Aggies never got closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
Kennedy didn’t like his team’s energy after halftime.
“I was disappointed in the second half,” he said. “I think we got our heads down a little bit.”
A 3-pointer by Alex Caruso got A&M within 46-28 with about 12 minutes remaining. Florida used an 8-0 run after that to extend the lead to 54-28.
Texas A&M had a crowd of more than 11,000, which included Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. It was loud early in the game, but Florida’s run in the first half quickly quieted the group.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Also Check Out: