GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With backup small forward Casey Prather out for Florida's exhibition opener against Nebraska-Kearney, true freshman Michael Frazier II moved up a spot in the rotation and didn't waste any time flashing off his talent.
Florida freshman Michael Frazier II scored 21 points in Florida's 101-71 win over Nebraska-Kearney in an exhibition game.
The freshman couldn't be stopped -- not even by his own teammates -- in a 101-71 win.
After getting the ball in the halfcourt with his teammates all behind him and four Nebraska-Kearney defenders between him and the basket, Frazier II put the ball on the floor with the dribble.
Teammate Kenny Boynton screamed at him, "Hold up, Mike! Hold up, Mike!"
But Frazier II tucked his head, dribbled left and kissed a layup off the glass for two, while drawing a foul.
"I didn't want him to turn it over, but he made a good play. You can't be mad at that, he got an and-one," Boynton said. "I knew if he would have made a turnover on that play, he definitely would have been getting yelled at. I would have gotten yelled at because I was the point guard on that possession."
Frazier II didn't turn it over, though. In fact, he did very little wrong in a near-flawless first outing.
He finished with a game-high 21 points on 8-10 shooting, including 5-6 from three-point range.
"It felt great just to get out there for the first time and play with my teammates," Frazier II said. "I've been looking forward to it. They did a great job of finding me tonight, and I just made shots."
With Mike Rosario struggling in his start at the small forward position, Frazier's strong play could earn him some consideration in a spot Florida has struggled to get consistent play at throughout fall practice.
Rosario finished with just four points on 2-5 shooting and turned the ball over four times, leading coach Billy Donovan to bench him immediately after one of them.
"I don't think he really played very well at all," Donovan said. "For some reason, I think he thinks his foot is part of his hand when he dribbles. He kicks it off his foot all the time, and he turns it over way too much and he's way too careless with the ball."
Prather's the other option at the position, but like Rosario has struggled with turnovers.
Still, Donovan cautioned about getting too high on Frazier II based on one performance in an exhibition game.
"I've seen a lot of different guys come out in their first game as a freshman and make a lot of shots," he said. "It's a long year. I never ever try to put anything into one game."
Aside from Frazier II's strong performance and the showing from two other true freshmen -- Braxton Ogbueze finished with 15 points and Dillon Graham chipped in 12 -- Donovan was upset with his team's performance.
He was extremely critical of the effort level from the veteran players on the team in terms of rebounding and defense.
Frontcourt starters Erik Murphy and Patric Young combined for just six points and seven rebounds in 40 minutes as the Gators won the rebounding edge just 32-29 and gave up seven three-pointers on 41.2 percent shooting behind the arc.
"I question our older guys' commitment to really defending and rebounding like we need to," Donovan said. "I'd rather have those younger guys out there making some mistakes but they just really, really are getting after it and giving everything you have."
Junior Will Yeguete finished the game with a double-double for the Gators, racking up 20 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
Florida will begin its season officially on Nov. 9, when it travels to Jacksonville to take on Georgetown in the Navy/Marine Corps Classic in a game that will be played on an aircraft carrier.
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