VIDEO: 2017 power forward Isaiah Stokes shatters backboard

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As the younger brother of former Tennessee power forward Jarnell Stokes, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 2017 power forward Isaiah Stokes plays with similar authority. At one point a dual-sport athlete with football also getting attention, the younger Stokes has decided to focus on basketball with a host of high major programs looking to land his commitment. And Thursday afternoon at the adidas Summer Championships in Las Vegas, Stokes displayed the strength and power he’s been known for.

Late in the M33M Elite program’s win over the Iowa Barnstormers, Stokes threw down a two-handed dunk that shattered the backboard and can be seen above. Stokes fell onto the chards of glass that accumulated under the basket, and he needed three stitches to close up a wound on his left pinky finger. Stokes told ESPN.com that while he had intentions of breaking the backboard, he “didn’t think I’d be able to do it.”

Games on that court were delayed for a couple hours due to the clean-up process and the need to bring in a replacement basket. According to ESPN.com Stokes is down to five schools: Memphis, Tennessee, Florida, Iowa State and South Carolina.

No. 17 Texas A&M pulls away from Florida 72-66 in SEC

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jalen Jones made a go-ahead layup with 2:08 remaining and Alex Caruso followed with a steal and a layup 13 seconds later to key a late 7-0 run that pushed No. 17 Texas A&M past Florida 72-66 on Friday in the quarterfinals of Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Playing for the first time as the tournament’s top seed, the Aggies (25-7) needed everything to break free of a Florida team that stayed with them throughout a tight game featuring 11 ties and eight lead changes.

Danuel House followed those two quick baskets with a 3-pointer with 1:02 left to provide some more room, and Admon Gilder’s two free throws with 22.8 seconds left sealed the Aggies’ seventh straight win. Caruso added two more foul shots six seconds later.

House and Tyler Davis each scored 15 points for Texas A&M, which will face the Tennessee-LSU winner in Saturday’s semifinal. Jones finished with 13 points.

Kasey Hill’s 18 points led five players in double figures for eighth-seeded Florida (19-14).

Dorian Finney-Smith and John Egbunu each added 11 points for Florida, but Egbunu fouled out with just under three minutes left. Texas A&M then made several plays in the closing minutes to seal the back-and-forth game.

A day after dispatching Arkansas, Florida wondered whether it could win another game to help solidify its NCAA Tournament resume. The Gators gave it a run for a while, trading baskets and leads with the Aggies up to the 2:24 mark as Hill made two free throws to tie the game at 61.

Then came the final swing for Texas A&M as it closed the game on a 11-5 spurt.

First came Jones’ glide to the hoop, one of several athletic plays by the Aggies. Caruso followed by picking off a pass and racing down the court for another easy basket.

House’s long-range jumper provided the exclamation point, though it came down to Gilder’s free throws to make it final.

Both teams shot 39 percent, but the Aggies came away with a key win in their quest to win the tournament title.

House in particular thrived, despite 1-of-6 shooting from outside, making up for it with several quick moves including a baseline drive for a dunk. Davis, with eight rebounds, helped the Aggies stay even on the boards.

The Aggies’ problem was breaking free of a Florida squad that matched the same quick tempo and made more baskets. Allen and Finney-Smith combined for 16 points and got scoring help from other Gators who also chipped in on the boards.

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TIP-INS

Florida: Devin Robinson and Kevaughn Allen each had 10 points for the Gators, who outrebounded the Aggies 45-43.

Texas A&M: The Aggies entered the game having won their last six by an average margin of 10.1 points.

UP NEXT

Florida: Awaiting postseason announcement.

Texas A&M: Faces Tennessee-LSU winner in Saturday’s semifinal.

Florida’s leading scorer expected to play against undefeated Kentucky on Saturday

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Florida is expecting to have its leading scorer back for Saturday’s regular season finale at top-ranked Kentucky.

Michael Frazier II has missed the past seven games with an injured right ankle, which he suffered in Florida’s 68-61 loss to No. 1 Kentucky back on Feb. 7. Florida head coach Billy Donovan told reporters Friday that Frazier should be able to go against the Wildcats, but is unsure in what capacity.

“I’m going into the game with him being available,” Donovan said via the Associated Press. “But for me to go in there and say, ‘OK, he’s back right now, he’s going to play 30 minutes and he’s going to be back to where he was before he got injured,’ I think would be a mistake. It’s another body in our backcourt.”

Frazier is averaging a team-high 13.2 points per game.

Florida enters the game 15-15 with a sub .500 record in SEC play. Even after losing four starters from last year’s Final Four team, this has been a disappointing campaign for the Gators. But they have a chance to play spoilers, the only team standing in Kentucky’s way of a perfect 31-0 regular season.

Two players questionable for Florida’s game against Wake Forest

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Saturday’s matinee against Wake Forest could very well have Florida playing shorthanded once again.

The Gators are unsure if Eli Carter and transfer Alex Murphy will be available for the neutral site, non-conference matchup. Carter, who has missed four games this season due to injuries, is battling an illness. Murphy, the Duke transfer, is awaiting his eligibility status.

Carter has dealt with a sprained foot and is now being examined for strep throat, Florida head coach Billy Donovan told reporters on Thursday. The 6-foot-2 Carter has returned to the lineup for the last two games — wins over Texas Southern and Jacksonville — scoring a combined 11 points in 37 minutes of action. He’s averaging 7.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

“I feel bad for him,” Donovan said, via Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. “Personally it’s been hard. He’s never been able to quite get into that kind of rhythm that he had … in the Miami game.”

Murphy, who enrolled at Florida last spring, has to wait for his fall semester marks to be recorded, which could take until Saturday to be posted, according to Brockway.

“I’m remaining optimistic,” Donovan said. “There isn’t anything I’ve been told it’s definitely not happening, I haven’t been told it definitely is happening. Just trying to remain optimistic he’ll get an opportunity to play on Saturday.”

Florida meets Wake Forest at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida for a 5 p.m. tip.

No. 11 Kansas erases an 18-point deficit to beat Florida

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Last season, Florida used its marquee non-conference matchup against Kansas as the starting point of a 30-game winning streak, a run that led the Gators to the 2014 Final Four. More than midway through Friday night’s game against No. 11 Kansas, that result from a season ago looked like it’d be replicated.

The Gators led by 15 at half, with a lead as large as 18 points in the second. However, that 15-point halftime edge turned into a 71-65 win for Kansas, with the Jayhawks outscoring the Gators 47-26 in the second half.

Florida was able to move the ball on offense, assisting on 11 of 15 field goals in the first half and shooting 54 percent from the field. The Gators were also aided by Kansas turnovers, nine total in the first half.

The Jayhawks elected not to walk through the second half as they did the first. They tightened up defensively, holding Florida to only 35 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes, and got a lift offensively from Wayne Selden and Cliff Alexander. The duo scored the first eight points in what turned out to be a 17-0 Kansas run, giving the Jayhawks a 58-52 advantage.

Selden was miserable from the field down in the Orlando Classic, 27 points (7-of-25 shooting) in the three games, albeit three wins. On Friday night, he went for a season-high 21 points, 14 of which came after halftime. He was aggressive getting his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame into the lane, which helped set up his jumper. He knocked down a step-back shot from the top of the key, while also connecting on a pair 3-pointers. Alexander finished with his first double-double — 12 points and 10 rebounds — of his collegiate career. Bill Self’s other heralded freshman Kelly Oubre had two points in limited action again.

While the collapse hands the Gators their fourth loss — more than all of 2013-14 — some positives can be taken away from the defeat for Florida, which only dressed seven scholarship players with Eli Carter out for Friday’s game. They saw better production from Chris Walker, who finished with 12 points and five boards in 15 minutes.

The Jayhawks will look to avoid a slow start on Wednesday, and they’ll have to be. Kansas travels to the Nation’s Capital to pay Georgetown, a team talented enough to be ranked, and one that is looking for a key out-of-conference win after nearly upsetting No. 2 Wisconsin in the Battle 4 Atlantis and given that its win over Florida in the same event doesn’t hold the same weight at the moment.

Florida, on the other hand, welcomes in Yale on Monday. The Gators don’t want to be  another upset victory for the Ivy League contender.

No. 8 Florida needs overtime to defeat Louisiana-Monroe, 61-56

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Until this week, No. 8 Florida hadn’t lost on its home floor in 33 games. Friday night, the Gators almost suffered a second home loss in five days, as Louisiana-Monroe led by a dozen in the first half and later stormed back in the last minute to tie the game and force overtime. However, it was in the extra frame where shorthanded Florida pulled away from a 61-56 victory.

Free throws from Michael Frazier II put Florida up 51-43 with two minutes left, looking like the Gators had avoided the upset bid from their Sun Belt opponent. Nick Coppola had different plan, scoring five of his 11 points in the final 90 seconds — assisting on a 3-point field goal in that span — to force overtime.

Jon Horford had the only Florida field goal in overtime, as the Gators closed out the game from the line.

This was the second time this week, Florida coughed up a late-game lead, only this time the Gators regrouped to pick up a win. On Monday, Miami guard Angel Rodriguez lead the charge, scoring 22 of his 24 points with under nine minutes to play, in a come-from-behind win for the Hurricanes. Blowing a lead to Miami, especially given the zone Rodriguez was in is one thing, but to ULM — even without two starters — is a concern for Florida moving forward.

Following the game, Billy Donovan told reporters in the post-game press conference, “This is the team we’re taking to the Bahamas,” which would mean the Gators are going to the toughest early-season tournament without Dorian Finney-Smith or Eli Carter, who missed Friday’s game with a foot injury. In order to survive that field, the undermanned Florida team will need more out of Kasey Hill, who is shooting 3-of-21 from the field over his last two games with 10 assists and seven turnovers. They’ll also need rely heavily on Chris Walker, who recorded four points and six boards in 25 minutes in his season debut on Friday.

It won’t get easier when Florida returns to campus, as the Gators kick off December with a road game against Kansas.

Florida will have plenty of time to get its full roster on the floor — Duke transfer Alex Murphy isn’t eligible until the second semester — and it’s a long season to sort out its issues, but this week could be the beginning of a tough stretch for Donovan and Co.