Hot-shooting night helps Florida rout JacksonvilleBy MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer Friday, Nov 25, 2011
The 10th-ranked Gators seemed ripe for a letdown.
Instead, they responded with a beatdown.
Kenny Boynton scored 22 points, Erving Walker added 21 and Florida used a hot-shooting night to handle Jacksonville 107-62 on Friday.
“It’s a great feeling just team ball, everybody sharing it, everybody getting involved and it’s actually easy to play when it’s like that,” Walker said.
The Gators (4-1) dominated from the opening tip, allowing little chance for a repeat of what happened last year in Gainesville. Jacksonville (2-3) upset Florida 71-69 in overtime, knocking the Gators out of the rankings.
This one was over by halftime.
Florida made seven of its first 14 shots to open a double-digit lead. Boynton hit consecutive 3-pointers that pushed the lead to 18.
The Gators were up 58-38 at halftime and showed the kind of knockout mentality Donovan has been seeking with a 13-2 run to start the second half.
“I felt like this game was the best game we’ve played in terms of how I envision our team playing offensively and defensively,” Donovan said.
Patric Young keyed the second-half spurt. Wearing protective glasses four nights after he got poked in the eye, Young had a layup off a blocked shot, a free throw and another easy bucket in the paint. He was fouled on the last of his three straight plays and missed the free throw. No worries, though. He got the offensive board, which led to Scottie Wilbekin’s 3 from the wing.
Young finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, helping negate the absence of forward Erik Murphy. Murphy injured his right knee in practice Thursday and was on crutches Friday.
“I was hoping for that other rebound,” Young said. “I asked coach Donovan if I could get back in, but he was like, `Nah, I don’t want you to get hurt.”’
The Gators can’t afford more injuries.
Murphy, a 6-foot-10 junior from Rhode Island, banged his knee in practice and is still unsure how severe the injury is. Donovan said he doesn’t believe it is season ending, but more tests are scheduled for Saturday.
Murphy is averaging 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds. Will Yeguete replaced him the lineup, and finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
Casey Prather also is dealing with a groin injury, leaving Florida with a relatively short bench.
It didn’t matter against the Dolphins, who were led by Russell Powell’s 15 points.
“We need to get a better effort from our entire team,” Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren said. “We are a work in progress. We need to learn from this and get better for the rest of the season.”
The biggest difference was Florida’s shooting. The Gators shot 55 percent from the field.
Even though the Dolphins were overmatched, they didn’t play all that poorly. They shot 39 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers. They were 5 of 15 from behind the arc and just 9 of 17 from the free throw line.
Florida had more woes from the charity stripe, a strange trend for a team with so many solid outside shooters. The Gators were 22 of 35 from the free throw line, but made up for the misses by hitting 11 of 25 from 3-point range.
“We moved the ball. We shared the ball,” Donovan said. “I thought we were really active in our press. We were able to cause a lot of havoc. Even though we didn’t turn them over a lot, it created a tempo and a pace for us that offensively we were really able to get out on the break.
“I thought we were disruptive. We took them a little bit out of their flow and we got stops.”