No. 8 Florida beaten at own game by K-State, 67-61

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm •  Published: December 22, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Eighth-ranked Florida was beaten at its own game by Kansas State.

The Wildcats kept chasing down loose balls, kept taking away passing lanes on defense and generally made life miserable for Mike Rosario and the rest of the Gators.

The nation's best defensive team was out-defended, and Gators coach Billy Donovan knew it.

"I thought they were just a step ahead of us, a step quicker," Donovan said after a 67-61 loss Saturday night. "We gave up some offensive rebounds. We had just a couple plays there where we were just late on some things, particularly our guards getting over screens."

Patric Young had 19 points and 10 rebounds despite foul trouble, but he didn't get a whole lot of help against Kansas State's in-your-shorts defense.

Rosario, the team's leading scorer, had five points on 1-for-9 shooting. Scott Wilbekin scored 11 points but was 0 for 3 from beyond the arc, where the Gators were 5 of 19 as a team.

"When a guy like (Rosario) goes 1 for 9, probably a third of his shots were blocked," Donovan said. "When you're getting your shot blocked, it's not a good night."

It was a dandy night for the Wildcats.

For all the area teams, as a matter of fact.

Will Spradling had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead the Wildcats, who followed up No. 9 Kansas' win over No. 7 Ohio State and No. 12 Missouri's victory over No. 10 Illinois on Saturday with the most surprising result of them all.

"Whenever you're shooting it well — you see the ball go through the net — it brings confidence to you and for your team as well," said Spradling, a sophomore guard from suburban Kansas City. "This is probably my best all-around performance that I've had."

No doubt.

Spradling didn't even have a turnover in 39 minutes.

Rodney McGruder added 13 points and Jordan Henriquez had nine points and five blocks for the Wildcats (9-2), who watched a 10-point halftime lead evaporate before clamping down against one of the nation's top defensive teams and then pulling away in the final minutes.

"We were in tune with one another. We wanted this game," McGruder said. "Our preparation for Florida was great, tremendous. The past couple practices guys were getting after one another."

Young's two free throws with just over 2 minutes left got Florida (8-2) within 58-53, but Spradling found Shane Southwell in the corner for an open 3-pointer and the Wildcats managed to put the game away from the foul line down the stretch.

They ended up shooting 21 free throws in the second half.

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