Senior guard Kenny Boynton snapped his shooting slump and snapped the school record for career three-pointers in the process to lead the Florida Gators to a 79-58 victory against Yale in New Haven, Conn., on Sunday night.
Florida turned up its full-court pressure to blow open a close game with 18 unanswered points behind Boynton’s hot hand. He finished with a game-high 25 points on 9 of 12 shooting. He hit a career-high eight three-pointers to shatter Lee Humphrey’s UF record of 288. He also passed Erving Walker’s total on 285 in the game.
The game was billed as a homecoming of sorts for Erik Murphy as an estimated 200 of the capacity crowd of 2,500-plus at the John J. Lee Amphitheater were friends and family of the forward from Kingstown, Mass., which is a little more than an hour from New Haven.
However, Murphy was ruled out of the game prior to the tip, so the orange-and-blue clad section cheered on Murphy’s teammates like Boynton instead.
It served as a final tune up for the No. 13 Gators (10-2) before opening SEC play against Georgia on Wednesday and several Gators found their shooting touch, especially Boynton. As a team, Florida came in shooting 47.3 percent from the field and finished 30 of 50 (60 percent) from the floor.
It wasn’t the hottest shooting in a game for Florida this season as it hit a scorching 75 percent of its field goal attempts in a 74-56 win against Wisconsin.
Play on both ends was sloppy in the early going and lot of it had to do with Yale’s hustle out of its man defense.
The Bulldogs pulled to within a single point (21-20) before the Gators put together an 11-3 run to take their largest lead (35-23) into the locker room at halftime.
Following a three-point bucket by Yale (6-10), which needed an official review to confirm it was indeed a trey, Florida would go on to score the final nine points — with three different three-point plays — to end the half.
Casey Prather began the run with a traditional three-point play when he was fouled on a running one-hander down the middle of the lane and hit the ensuing free throw.
Boynton then drained three-pointer and then freshman Michael Frazier II was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 4.1 seconds remaining. He hit all three free throws to cap off the first-half run.
Florida began the second half with nine consecutive points, which was fueled by a four turnovers by UF’s defense, to push the lead to 42-23. Boynton nailed a pair of three-pointers, including one off a nice pass from Scottie Wilbekin — one of his tema-high nine assists — after he drove the lane, to highlight the second-half surge.
Boynton’s second three came off of a pass from Patric Young, who made the feed from his backside while down on the floor after securing a loose ball.
Another three-pointer from Boynton made it 50-27 with 16:30 remaining in the second half, which essentially put the game out of reach as the Gators were able to keep the Bulldogs at arm’s length the rest of the way.
Florida outrebounded Yale 28-21 and had 15 turnovers while forcing 17.
Will Yeguete started in Murphy’s place and finished with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds while Mike Rosario chipped in 13.