Jan 1, 2012, 10:23 PM EDT
Mike Rosario’s New Jersey homecoming didn’t work out for him or his Florida teammates on Thursday. Rutgers pulled off an 85-83 stunner, while Rosario – a Jersey native who played at Rutgers for two seasons before transferring – heard chants of “Jersey hates you” and Rosario is a bum.”
It all vanished two days later.
The Gators breezed past Yale, hit 57 percent of their 3-pointers dished 24 assists. As for Rosario, he played 23 minutes, scored nine points and had just one turnover. But best of all was Rosario’s defense.
Billy Donovan was downright delighted given Rosario’s rep as a gunner.
“It was the first time I felt as a coach since he’s been here that I wasn’t frightened to death with him on defense,” Florida’s coach said, via OnlyGators.com. “His comment to me is, ‘Well, I’m trying.’ And I said, ‘Well, you’re supposed to try.’ It was the first time I actually thought that there was a level of focus and commitment there to try and do a good job there. Therefore he played more.”
That’s significant given the Gators need someone to play defense.
They feature D-I’s most efficient offense using a guar-heavy lineup of Rosario, Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and Bradley Beal. Walker and Boynton have never been known for their defense, though Boynton’s capable of doing more. Beal’s already matching up against bigger guys, so giving him a respite by using Rosario on occasion would be a plus.
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