Despite, the 2012 Navy-Marine Corps Classic between No. 10 Florida and Georgetown being called after the Gators led at half 27-23 due the condensation, Gator players said they enjoyed and appreciated the experience.
Gator forward Erik Murphy said the game was called because officials felt it was unsafe.
“They’re probably right (to cancel the second half),” Murphy said immediately after the game was called. “We’re disappointed, but it was great experience and a lot of fun. It’s a long season and only one game.”
(Credit: Jim Burgess/University of Florida Athletics Communications)
A crowd of 3,500 gathered on the rear flight deck of the USS Bataan. Fans who paid a minimum of $1,000 for tickets and military personnel in full garb made up the crowd. Members of the U.S. Navy formed a band in the stands while others watched leisurely, cheering for one team or the other.
Murphy said he felt his team played well for a half despite a combined 14 turnovers from both teams. He said the absence of Scotty Wilbekin, who has been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules, allowed the Gators to play a bigger lineup.
Yet, the bottom line of this night was the overall experience of combining sports and the military. Murphy said he would absolutely play in a similar game again if asked.
“This has been one of my best experiences playing in front of these guys who defend us,” Murphy said. I gave one guy my jersey and he gave me one of his uniform shirts. That was great.”
Kenny Boynton, who was forced to start at point guard with Wilbekin suspended, said he felt like his team had just gotten warmed up when the game ended.
“I wish we could have finished,” he said. “It was a great crowd. We’ve just got to regroup.”
Boynton said he was not sure what the future of outdoor games holds. He suggested the possibility of going to some kind of indoor event.
Still Boynton said it was good to associate with the troops.
“We look up to these guys,” Boynton said. “I would definitely do it again.”
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