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Florida's Boynton ends shooting slump in easy win

The SportsXchange

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton was on a roll, and there was little that Yale could do to stop him.

Boynton tied a career high with 28 points, lifting No. 13 Florida (10-2) to a 79-58 win over Yale at Payne Whitney Gymnasium on Sunday.

Boynton went 8-for-10 from 3-point range, passing former Gator Lee Humphrey (288) for the school record in 3-pointers made. Boynton's 289th career 3-pointer extended Florida's lead to 65-41 in the second half.

Boynton came into the Yale game in a deep slump, having made just 7 of his last 39 3-point attempts. But the senior from Pompano Beach, Fla., remained confident despite his struggles.

"I knew eventually, they were going to fall," Boynton said. "It was just a matter of me not worrying about my percentage and taking good ones."

Boynton's previous career high of 28 points came on Jan. 9, 2010, against Vanderbilt. Against Yale, his first two shot attempts were drives to the basket. He only made one 3-pointer in the first half before heating up in the final 20 points.

Boynton made six straight 3-point attempts in the second half to help put the game away for the Gators.

"He created space for himself (shooting) and then what happened was, he was able to get into a rhythm," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "The ball had a lot more arc on it than in previous weeks."

Mike Rosario added 13 points for Florida, and Will Yeguete had 14 points and nine rebounds.

Justin Sears led Yale (5-11) with 15 points. Armani Cotton added 12 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs, who were playing their fifth game in 10 days. Javier Duren had 14 points off the bench.

Yale coach James Jones said the focus coming into the game was to stop Boynton.

"He's not a career 29 percent 3-point shooter; he's a career 40-percent 3-point shooter," Jones said. "We knew that coming in. We just didn't do a good enough job on him tonight."

Yale also was flustered by Florida's press. The Gators scored 19 points off 16 Yale turnovers.

"Their speed and their athleticism was just on a different level for us," Duren said.

Yale stayed in the game early, cutting Florida's lead to 21-20 on a jumper by senior point guard Michael Grace. Cotton took advantage of some early mismatches, scoring eight of Yale's first 20 points.

But Florida closed the half on a 15-3 run to take a 35-23 lead into halftime. The run included a 3-pointer from Boynton and three free throws from freshman Michael Frazier, who was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 4.3 seconds left in the first half.

Florida held Yale to 36 percent shooting in the first half and 22 percent (2-for-9) from 3-point range. Florida, meanwhile, shot 54.2 percent (13-for-24) from the floor, and outscored Yale 22-8 in the paint in the first half.

The Gators started the second half with a 12-0 run, which included a pair of Boynton 3-pointers and six points off steals from Florida's press.

For the Gators, it was a final tuneup before their Southeastern Conference opener Wednesday at home against Georgia.

"I'm not as concerned about our won-loss record as much as are we progressing and playing to the best of our ability," Donovan said. "I think we made some strides in that area tonight."

NOTES: Florida senior forward Erik Murphy sat out the game with bruised ribs he suffered in practice on Friday. Murphy will have X-rays on his ribs when he returns to campus on Monday. It was a tough break for Murphy, who had close to 100 family and friends attend the game. Murphy is from South Kingstown, R.I., 84.5 miles from New Haven. ... Yeguete made his 10th start of the season in Murphy's place. ... With the win, Florida improved to 2-1 in true road games this season. ... Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin had a career-high 10 assists for the Gators.
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