Commentary

Young has SportsCenter moment

The sophomore center made a block and steal with one hand

Updated: December 23, 2011, 12:24 AM ET
By Michael DiRocco | GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Patric Young wanted to shower, dress and get the heck out of the Florida locker room as quickly as possible Thursday night after the Gators' 82-64 victory over Florida State.

His rush was partly because the Gators began their three-day Christmas break, but he also wanted to get home in time to catch SportsCenter and see where his block placed in the Top 10 plays of the day.

It should be pretty high, because it was a phenomenal play. The 6-foot-9 Young came up from behind the 6-10 Bernard James as he went in for a dunk, ripped the ball out if his hands, pinned it momentarily against the glass and pulled it down. With just his left hand.

Young is right handed.

[+] EnlargeKenny Boynton
Kim Klement/US PresswireFlorida guard Kenny Boynton (1) and forward Will Yeguete (15) cause a turnover on Florida State guard Michael Snaer (21) during the first half.
"Whenever you block somebody's shot and pull it down with one hand, that's making SportsCenter," Young said. "I just saw him going for the roll and I was able to time it right. I didn't think I was going to rip it down. It was just perfect. It just came right in my hand.

"That's the best block I've had in my life."

It brought the O'Connell Center crowd to its feet and Florida's bench erupted. His teammates on the floor were in awe.

"That's like a LeBron or Dwight Howard-type block," said Bradley Beal, who led the 12th-ranked Gators (10-2) with 21 points. "It was an amazing block."

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton got a good look at it, too, because it happened on the Seminoles' end of the floor. He was just as impressed as Beal.

"That was a very aggressive play that he made, as good as I've seen this year," Hamilton said.

It was the highlight of Florida's smothering defensive performance against Florida State (8-4). The Gators forced 19 turnovers, held the Seminoles' starting frontcourt to 8-for-21 shooting, and allowed FSU to shoot just 34.5 percent from the field in the first half.

UF essentially sealed the game with a suffocating five-minute stretch in the second half. FSU cut UF's lead to 38-36 on Michael Snaer's three-point play, but the Gators forced the Seminoles into six turnovers and 1-for-3 shooting during a 15-2 run that pushed their lead to 15 points with 12:05 to play.

Young's block came during that stretch. He also scored four of his 15 points and had a steal as well.

"I see it every day," UF coach Billy Donovan said. "He's got a great motor. He's got great energy. He's really, really athletic, and that was a heck of a block, because it probably was one of those blocks where James probably thought he had an easy two-point shot and Pat kind of came out of nowhere. It was a great play and it fueled our team and it gave us momentum and it gave us energy."

Young said the Gators wanted to prove their defense is just as high-powered as their offense -- and that they're just as good defensively as the Seminoles, who rank in the top four in the ACC in seven statistical categories.

"We don't get that much credit for our defense," Young said. "Our offense has been so great this year. We just wanted to show them from the get-go that they're not going to get anything easy, that we're going to be real physical, that we're going to press them, pressure them, make them turn the ball over.

"Our defense was really great. It was probably one of the best defensive games we've had this year."

Michael DiRocco covers University of Florida sports for GatorNation. He can be reached at espndirocco@gmail.com or on Twitter @ESPNdirocco.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter