Scottie Wilbekin makes season debut as Gators dominate in Jacksonville

It was probably Florida’s most complete game of the season last night. The return of Florida’s Senior PG Scottie Wilbekin was certainly a huge factor in the Gators dominating performance in Jacksonville where they defeated the 2-4 Dolphins 86-60.

Wilbekin (who returned from an undisclosed suspension) scored 12 points, dished five assists, grabbed seven rebounds, and recorded three steals, doing a little of everything in his first game back.

Casey Prather (27 points to lead all scorers, five rebounds, and three assists) and Michael Frazier II (17 points, five-of-six from deep) both helped and were helped by Wilbekin’s first game of the 2013-14 season, with the senior point guard finding Prather repeatedly, and especially in transition, and setting up Frazier for easy shots from deep with smart dribble-kick play.

Florida PG Scottie WilbekinDorian Finney-Smith added 14 points and 11 rebounds, registering his first double-double as a Gator, and Patric Young added 13 points despite struggling with foul trouble all night in a Jacksonville homecoming.

Florida shot 59.6 percent from the field, and made eight of 13 threes (Frazier had five, Wilbekin two, and Finney-Smith one), more than making up for a woeful 16-for-28 night at the line that shrank the final margin of victory and prevented Prather (5-for-9) from making a run at 30 points.

Florida played fantastic defense against the Dolphins, who came in averaging 81 points per game. They shot under 40 percent both from the field and the arc, and never really challenged after Florida built a double-digit lead early in the first half.

Sophomore Guard/Forward DeVon Walker played only briefly on the night, going down with an ankle sprain. His status going forward is unclear.

Florida was very good last night, good enough to make me feel very comfortable about their chances going into the “meat” of their out-of-conference schedule. The Gators play host to an up-and-coming Florida State team and then travel to Storrs, Connecticut to take on an undefeated UConn team.

Behind the Gators bench late in the first half a heckling JU fan shouted at Coach Billy Donovan “Andrew Wiggins on December 10” and Billy turned to the fan and with a smile said “I’m more worried about Julius Randle”

Florida plays host to rival Florida State on Friday night in the Stephen C. O’ Connell Center at 7:30 pm.