FINAL: Florida 84, Alabama State 35

The Sky Squad Acro Team put on a high-flying dunk display at halftime.

The Florida Gators basketball team had their dunk contest in the first half, minus the trampolines. They used a 31-0 run and hit on all cylinders en route to a 84-35 win against Alabama State in the O’Connell Center on Sunday.

After Friday’s season-opener against Georgetown was cancelled at halftime with Florida leading 27-23, Sunday’s win was the No. 10 Gators’ first of the 2012-13 season. It provided a tune up for Wednesday’s game against Wisconsin, which is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

Florida had four players score in double figures. Senior point guard Kenny Boynton led all scorers with 22 points while finishing with six rebounds and five assists. Erik Murphy had 15 points (3 of 6 from three-point range) and Mike Rosario had 14. Patric Young finished with a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The dominating first half run lasted more than nine minutes and was highlighted by back-to-back-back dunks by Young, Rosario and Young again. There were layups by Rosario, Young, Boynton and Dillon Graham — on a backdoor cut and nice pass by Murphy. There also was Will Yeguete driving the baseline for a two-handed dunk.

Yeguete, who finished with seven rebounds and six assists, drained a three-pointer during the scoring surge and pointed to the Rowdy Reptiles — Florida’s student section — as he headed down the court. A pair of three pointers by Kenny Boynton capped off the first half scoring.

While the offense was dazzling, defense triggered the run and was the difference in the Gators taking a 47-9 lead at the half. The Hornets were stung to the tune of 2 of 25 shooting from the field in the first half. Florida also forced 14 turnovers and won the rebounding battle 24-12.

It was the first time a Florida team has limited an opponent to single digits in the first half during the shot-clock era. The lowest point output for a Gators’ opponent was 27, so the Hornets just missed making history thanks to a late scoring surge. It was the least points a Gators’ opponent has posted since 2006.

For the game, Florida out-rebounded ASU 50-30 while forcing 19 turnovers and committing 12. The Hornets, after hitting just eight percent of their shots in the first half, improved to 21.4 percent shooting (12 of 56) by the end of the game.

Florida placed three players in double digits in the first half alone, led by Boynton’s 13 points. Young had 10 as did Murphy, who hit a pair of three-pointers.

It didn’t take long for coach Billy Donovan to insert his freshman, especially in the second half as Yeguete stayed in the game with Graham, DeVon Walker, Michael Frazier II and Braxton Ogbueze.

Ogbueze led the freshen in scoring with seven points while adding four rebounds. Walker had five points and three rebounds while Frazier II had three points and four rebounds to go along with an assist.

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Mike Capshaw brings a wealth of experience to the Gator Country team. He’s been overseeing all editorial aspects of and Gator Country magazine by managing our team of staffers, interns and freelancers. He is now moving into a bigger role as a reporter by covering the football and basketball beats as well as providing coverage of all sports on campus. Mike’s 15 years in the business has included more than six years of covering SEC sports and recruiting at a daily newspaper in Arkansas. He has also helped launch a newspaper, magazines, websites and even a sports talk radio show. Because Mike puts family ahead of his career, he left the place where he was established when his wife received an opportunity to further her career at UF. He took a leap of faith that he could find a job in the Gainesville area and worked for a year at a newspaper group before joining the Gator Country family in November, 2011. Mike has won Florida Press Association awards for Best Sports Game Story and Best Sports Feature Story in the past two years as well as a company-wide award at his former newspaper group that includes some 60 publications, for Excellence in Sports Reporting. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeCapshawGC.