An overwhelming start to the second half fueled yet another dominant performance for No. 9/11 Florida Gators basketball (12-2, 2-0 SEC), which poured it on right out of the break to earn a 74-52 victory over the LSU Tigers (9-4, 0-2 SEC) at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA on Saturday.
Senior guard Kenny Boynton passed former teammate Erving Walker (1,777 points) and legend Udonis Haslem (1,781 points) for third on Florida’s all-time scoring list with 1,782 career points as he led the way for the Gators with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting (4-of-8 from three) with seven rebounds, two assists and a steal.
He was one of four UF players to score in double figures as junior center Patric Young added 14 points and seven rebounds and junior forward Erik Murphy bounced back from a rough first half to score 12 with seven boards, three assists, a steal and a block. Junior F Will Yeguete notched a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds including six off the offensive glass.
Down early, Florida utilized a 9-2 run to take a five-point lead on LSU with 9:31 left in the opening half. Minutes later, the Tigers responded with a 7-0 scoring stretch to gain a two-point advantage, but the teams eventually evened out at 19 with 4:19 remaining.
The Gators ended the opening 20 minutes on a 10-1 run – capped by a buzzer-beating jumper by junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin – to take a nine-point lead into the break despite shooting just 36.4 percent from the field to start the game.
Read the rest of the Florida-LSU game story…after the break!
Florida continued its hot shooting at the beginning of the second half, outscoring LSU 21-5 over the first 7:30 of the period to double up their hosts 50-25. However, the Tigers began pressing the Gators and forced three-straight turnovers, converting each into points as part of a 12-0 run that reduced their deficit to 13 points with 10 left to play.
An 8-0 run pushed Florida back ahead by 21 points with less than six minutes left, and the Gators kept their hosts at bay for the duration of the contest to pull off the victory.
Also performing well for UF on Saturday were Wilbekin (seven points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals) and freshman G Michael Frazier II, who saw extended minutes and scored five points with seven boards and three dimes.
Florida outshot LSU from the floor (.444-.323), from downtown (.348-.250) and from the charity stripe (.588-.400) and won the rebounding battle 49-34. The Gators registered 13 steals on 28 made baskets but did commit 11 turnovers to just seven for the Tigers.
Redshirt senior G Mike Rosario (sprained ankle) missed the game and junior F Casey Prather (lower leg) was injured late in the first half though X-rays taken on the latter at halftime were negative.
Remaining on the road for its fourth game away from home in its last five contests, Florida will travel to College Station, TX on Thursday to face Texas A&M for the first time since the Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference.
Photo Credit: Bill Feig/Associated Press