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01/09/2013 10:08 PM EST
No. 11 Florida thumps Georgia 77-44 in SEC opener
FLORIDA 77, GEORGIA 44

By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida probably will have a few more
games like this - even in the Southeastern Conference.



Mike Rosario scored 19 points, Erik Murphy added 11 despite
playing with a broken rib and the No. 11 Gators opened league
play with a 77-44 victory over short-handed Georgia on Wednesday
night.



It could be a sign of things to come since Florida is one of the
SEC's elite teams playing in a relatively weak conference.



"We're playing for something now," Rosario said. "As coach tells
us, our nonconference schedule was just to prepare for the
situations that are coming up now. Coach stressed it more than
anything to us: Now we're playing for an SEC championship, so
that's what we're really focusing on as a team and trying to be
consistent ball team every day."



The Gators improved to 12-5 in league openers under Donovan,
including 7-0 at home. They also extended their recent dominance
against the Bulldogs, winning for the 16th time in the last 19
meetings.



The latest one was no big surprise since the Gators (11-2) have
played well most of the season, while Georgia (6-8) has
struggled against just about everyone on its schedule.



"Florida just overwhelmed us," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "We
started out in a hole, and the environment overwhelmed a couple
of our kids and so did Florida's defense."



The Bulldogs, though, had won four in a row after losing six of
seven. Georgia shot 39 percent, turned the ball over 19 times
and fell to 0-3 against ranked teams this season.



Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the team's lone bright spot this
season, led the Bulldogs with 11 points. Junior forward Donte'
Williams and freshman guard Kenny Gaines did not make the trip
because they were suspended for violating team rules.



"We were a little short," Fox said.



The Gators were thin, too. But it hardly showed.



Rosario was 6-of-10 shooting and perfect from the free-throw
line.



Murphy's night was even more impressive.



Coach Billy Donovan called Murphy "doubtful" Monday because a
broken rib under his right arm. Murphy went through shoot-around
Wednesday and felt good enough to play with a protective pad
around his rib cage. He made 3 of 6 shots from 3-point range.



"I don't really think about it," Murphy said. "I wasn't thinking
that. I wasn't trying to avoid contact. I don't think it's going
to hinder me at all."



Patric Young chipped in 11 points for the Gators, who shot 52.7
percent from the field and made 12 of 26 shots from 3-point
range.



Casey Prather, who started in place of Murphy, scored the first
three baskets of the game. He finished with 10 points and seven
rebounds.



Will Yeguete had been expected to start over Prather, but the
power forward has tendinitis in his right knee and was scratched
from the starting lineup. He played sparingly, was scoreless and
kept ice on his knee while on the bench.



The injuries were the latest setback for Donovan's team.



"We've got to get healthy," Donovan said.



Point guard Scottie Wilbekin was suspended to start the season
and has played lately with a broken finger on his shooting hand.
Reserve forward Cody Prather left the team a few days before the
season opener. Prather missed several games because of multiple
concussions. Murphy missed practice time because of migraine
headaches. Young was benched for a lack of effort in practice.



Donovan probably could have rested several of them against
Georgia.



The Gators opened up a double-digit lead in the first 6 minutes,
extended it to 24-9 on Rosario's floater in the lane and really
pulled away after halftime.



Florida hit five consecutive 3s to turn a big lead into a
laugher. Wilbekin got the run started, hitting one from just
outside the top of the key. Michael Frazier II, Rosario and
Murphy followed his lead, with Frazier hitting two. The flurry
of outside shots made it 53-26 with 12:05 remaining.



It was 70-36 after Rosario's third trey - the 11th of the night
for Florida.



The Gators coasted from there, getting bench players in for the
final few minutes.



"I thought we were really balanced," Donovan said, pointing to
17 assists and seven turnovers. "We're playing the right way."

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