GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Florida A&M had played two other ranked
teams this season and was blown out both times.
So this was nothing new.
Mohamed Abukar scored a career-high 22 points, and Florida (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) routed Florida A&M 88-51 on Tuesday night.
"There's a reason they're called guarantee games: you're
guaranteed a paycheck and you're guaranteed a loss," FAMU coach
Mike Gillespie said.
Abukar was 8-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point
range, and showed signs of being ready to give the Gators (4-0)
some much-needed depth in his sophomore season.
His previous career-best was 12 points, which came against
Florida A&M last year. He struggled much of last season with an
injured left shoulder, but had offseason surgery and has fully
"It feels totally different that I can now play with two
arms," he said. "It feels great. I am starting to come back with
a lot more energy now and I feel stronger. ... I am glad that is
behind me because I think it helped."
Abukar had 16 points at halftime, and the Gators led 47-28. They
opened the second half with a 15-0 run, and Abukar later added
three baskets to give Florida its biggest lead of the night.
He had a putback, then hit a jumper and a baseline shot on
consecutive possessions to give the Gators an 83-46 lead.
"For him, it was like shooting fish in a barrel," Florida
coach Billy Donovan said. "He knocked down some shots and opened
up the game for us."
Anthony Roberson finished with 13 points, and Corey Brewer added
11 before the Gators emptied their bench late in the game. Freshman
point guard Taurean Green sprained his right ankle late in the game
and did not return. Donovan said Green might miss Saturday's game
Jonathan Kelly and Michael Harper each had 10 points for the
Rattlers (0-4), who have lost their games by a combined 122 points.
They opened the season with road games against Michigan State,
Illinois and Florida International.
The Rattlers played a triangle-and-2 zone in the first half
against the Gators -- playing man-to-man defense on Roberson and
Matt Walsh -- but left others, most notably Abukar, wide open.
Florida A&M also played zone because of several injuries. Point
guard Tony Tate is slowed by a separated shoulder, Darius Glover is
coming off double hernia surgery, Kelly is missing some teeth and
Harper is recovering from a broken nose.
But the Gators made half of their 18 shots from beyond the arc
in the first half.
Florida A&M switched to a full zone in the second half, but it
didn't change the tempo of the game. The Gators had the big run and
didn't allow the Rattlers to score in the first 6 minutes coming
out of the locker room.
"`It's good to know that we have somebody who can score when we
need them to score," Roberson said of Abukar and Brewer.