Gators trounce Hornets 84-35 in season opener

Coming off a weather-shortened season opener against Georgetown aboard the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, FL on Friday that was suspended at halftime and established as an exhibition game, No. 10 Florida Gators basketball could have had a let down in its new season opener against the Alabama State Hornets on Sunday. Instead, Florida (1-0) dominated Alabama State (0-1) from the tip, held the visitors to the lowest scoring output for an opponent since 2006 and rode its massive halftime advantage to an 84-35 victory at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

The Gators, winning their 22nd-straight season opener (17th-in-a-row under head coach Billy Donovan), outscored the Hornets 47-9 in the first half and ended the first 20 minutes on a 32-4 run with a three-pointer by senior guard Kenny Boynton serving as an exclamation point. Florida set a school record in the shot clock era by holding Alabama State to just nine first-half points; UF had not previously held a team under double digits in a single half.

Never trailing, the Gators took an 8-0 lead out of the gate and did not look back. Three Florida players individually outscored the entire Alabama State team in the first half as the Gators shot 57.1 percent and held their opponents to just 8.3 percent.

Florida kept the pressure on early in the second half, using a 17-5 scoring edge to take a 50-point lead with 14:05 left in the contest. UF would extend its lead to a game-high 62 points in the final 30 seconds.

The Gators dominated the Hornets in the post, outrebounding Alabama State 50-30 and outscoring them in the post 36-12. Florida had 18 assists on 28 made baskets, went 8-for-24 from beyond the arc (33.3 percent) and made 20-of-30 free throws (66.6 percent).

Playing point guard, Boynton led the way for the Gators with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting (4-for-4 from downtown), adding five assists and six rebounds. Junior center Patric Young complimented him nicely in the post, notching the fifth double-double of his career with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Redshirt senior G Mike Rosario (14 points) and senior F Erik Murphy (15 points) also scored in double-digits, and junior F Will Yeguete added seven boards and five assists along with three points.

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