Kenny Boynton couldn’t have picked a better time to get his mojo back for the Florida Gators. Erik Murphy couldn’t have picked a worse time to sit out with an injury.
The Florida Gators traveled to New Haven, Connecticut completing an unusual home and home series with Ivy League team Yale and defeated the Bulldogs 79-58 behind the three point shooting of Kenny Boynton. The game represented a homecoming of sorts for power forward Erik Murphy who is from nearby South Kingston, Rhode Island, a mere 80 miles up I-95, but was forced to sit out the game due to bruised ribs suffered in practice Friday.
Boynton, who had been mired in a six game shooting slump from the perimeter, finished with a game high 28 points hitting 8-10 from three point range. The 28 points matched his career high and his eight three pointers is a new career high for him. He snapped out of the shooting slump just in time for the start of league play which begins on Wednesday for the Gators against Georgia.
The Gators, as has been their motif all season, played somewhat uninspired in the first half allowing Yale to hang with them holding only a three point lead at 26-23 with 2:14 left in the first half. From there the Gators went on a 9-0 run to close the half to lead 35-23. The Gators made their usual halftime adjustments and came out determined to open the second half using the press effectively to go on a 12-0 run pushing the lead to 47-23 barely two minutes into the second half.
The Bulldogs were stifled by the Gators press and repeatedly turned the ball over which the Gators converted into quick easy points with Boynton hitting two three pointers in the stretch. From there it was all over but the shouting for the Bulldogs who played a gritty game but ultimately were unable to match the Gators athleticism.
With Boynton’s eight three pointers today, he now has 290 for his career which sets a new Gator record previously held by Lee “for three” Humphries who played on the back to back NCAA tournament championship teams. Will Yeguete had a great game sliding into Murphy’s spot finishing with 14 points and 9 rebounds with one assist. Mike Rosario added 13 points and 3 assists. Casey Prather played well off the bench scoring 9 points and adding 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
Freshman forward Justin Sears led the Bulldogs with 15 points and 3 rebounds, while sophomore guard Armani Cotton had another good game with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and one assist. Guard Javier Duran also chipped in 14 points and 3 rebounds off the bench.
The Gators shot an amazing 76% (10-13) from three point range and 60% (30-50) overall from the field. The Gators held the Bulldogs to only 21% (3-14) from three point range but did allow them to shoot 42% (21-49) from the field for the game. Uncharacteristic for the Gators to allow an opponent to shoot over forty percent from the field. The Gators held in edge in rebounding 27-20 but had another double digit turnover game with 13 getting sloppy at times in the second half as the Bulldogs went to an effective press.
The Gators move to 10-2 on the season while Yale falls to 5-11. Next up for the Gators is the Georgia Bulldogs on Wednesday as the Gators begin league. Tip off from the O’Connell Center in Gainesville is 7:00 pm eastern and will be broadcast on CSS/Cox Sports.