Earlier in the week, reports surfaced that Florida forward Erik Murphy was expected to miss the Gators’ SEC opener against Georgia. In fact, it appeared that a rib injury was set to sideline the senior for a number of games as conference play picked up.
However, injury aside, Murphy played on Wednesday night and played particularly well in 18 minutes of action. The 6-foot-10 forward was 4-of-9 from the field and 3-of-6 from distance, finishing the contest with 11 points total. The Gators cruised past the Bulldogs by a final score of 77-44.
As Georgia’s struggles continue, the Gators continue to roll, improving to 11-2 overall with their conference opening victory. Michael Rosario led the way for Florida in the contest, scoring 19 points.
However, the ability for Florida fans to see Murphy on the court despite the injury, is a great thing moving forward. Murphy looked good on Wednesday night, not just in terms of playing, but also in his ability to score and help guide the Gators when needed. The forward is second on the team in scoring.
The Gators must now prepare for a key stretch as January rolls along, which includes four road games in the next five contests. The only game that will be played in Gainesville as part of this stretch is a home date against Missouri.
Murphy’s health and the Gators’ balance moving forward will be key in their ability to battle for a regular season championship within the conference this year.
Florida will hit the road to LSU on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00pm (EST).
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS