BATON ROUGE, La. -- The odds seemed to be against the No. 11 Florida Gators -- and those odds were growing.
The Gators were playing in a loud Maravich Center Saturday night, starting senior guard Mike Rosario sat out with an ankle sprain. And his replacement, junior forward Casey Prather, also went down with a high ankle sprain late in the first half and did not return.
But Florida summoned enough resolve, breaking the game open with 45 points in the second half as Kenny Boynton led four scorers in double-figures, lifting the Gators to a 74-52 win over LSU at the Maravich Assembly Center.
Patric Young added 14 points for the Gators (12-2, 2-0 SEC) and Erik Murphy scored 12 points. Will Yeguete had a double-double off the bench with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
"It's a byproduct of coach pushing us hard in practice," Boynton said. "We practice hard and in practice we're all not on the same teams, whether someone is hurt or not. I knew if I went down I would be confident that my team could go out and win without me. We had a great defensive effort."
Anthony Hickey led LSU (9-4, 0-2 SEC) with 15 points. The Tigers suffered their first home loss of the season. LSU sophomore center Johnny O'Bryant, the Tigers' second leading scorer at 11.4 points, was held to two points on 1-of-8 shooting before sitting out the second half with a leg injury.
"We are a team that understands we have a lot of room for growth," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "We feel like the things that happened and transpired today we can fix."
The Gators consistently double-teamed O'Bryant throughout the first half.
"It's a complement to him, that teams have that kind of respect for him," Jones said. "It's just a matter of him recognizing it and making the right passes and instead of trying to shoot through it."
Up 29-20 at halftime, Florida started the second half on a 21-5 run, taking a 50-25 lead on a putback from junior forward Will Yeguete. But LSU answered with a 12-0 run, scoring seven of the points off three straight turnovers against LSU's press.
After a 3-pointer from LSU guard Shavon Coleman cut UF's lead to 50-37, Murphy answered with just his second 3-pointer in seven attempts to put the Gators back up 53-37. From there, Florida maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the game.
Florida's normal eight-player rotation was cut to six in the final 20 minutes. Florida coach Billy Donovan said he felt fatigue was a factor in some of UF's nine second-half turnovers.
"Coming down the stretch on the road with only six guys, I thought it was a really, really good win for our guys," Donovan said.
Florida and LSU played a physical first half that included poor shooting and four lead changes. LSU took its last lead of the half, 17-15, on a runner from Shavon Coleman. But the Gators closed the half on a 12-3 run to take a 29-20 halftime lead. The flurry included a putback from Casey Prather and drivng baskets from Kenny Boynton and Scottie Wilbekin.
The Gators held LSU to 29.6 percent shooting in the first half and 22.2 percent from 3-point range. Offensively, Florida had questionable shot selection, but still finished 36.4 percent and 25 percent from 3-point range.
Overall, Florida held an opponent under 60 points for the ninth time in 14 games and out-rebounded the Tigers 53-34.
"I thought we won the game based on our defense," Donovan said. "Our ability to defend the 3-point line and our ability to rebound the ball I thought were keys in the game."
Notes: Murphy (broken rib) returned to the starting lineup for the first time in three games. ... The Gators have used six different starting lineups in 14 games this season. ... Boynton passed both Erving Walker and Udonis Haslem for fourth on UF's all-time scoring list. Boynton now has 1,782 career points. ... LSU dropped to 8-1 at home this season. ... Florida improved to 3-1 on the road.