Mike Rosario scored 19 points, Erik Murphy added 11 despite playing with a broken rib and the No. 11 Gators opened league play with a 77-44 victory over short-handed Georgia on Wednesday night.
It could be a sign of things to come since Florida is one of the SEC’s elite teams playing in a relatively weak conference.
“We’re playing for something now,” Rosario said. “As coach tells us, our nonconference schedule was just to prepare for the situations that are coming up now. Coach stressed it more than anything to us: Now we’re playing for an SEC championship, so that’s what we’re really focusing on as a team and trying to be consistent ball team every day.”
The Gators improved to 12-5 in league openers under Donovan, including 7-0 at home.
They also extended their recent dominance against the Bulldogs, winning for the 16th time in the last 19 meetings.
The latest one was no big surprise since the Gators (11-2) have played well most of the season, while Georgia (6-8) has struggled against just about everyone on its schedule.
“Florida just overwhelmed us,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We started out in a hole, and the environment overwhelmed a couple of our kids and so did Florida’s defense.”
The Bulldogs, though, had won four in a row after losing six of seven.
Georgia shot 39 percent, turned the ball over 19 times and fell to 0-3 against ranked teams this season.