Gameday: (11) Florida Gators vs. Air Force

Event: 2012 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BB&T Center – Sunrise, FL [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 4:30 p.m. EST

TV: FSN/FSNHD (Rich Waltz, Mark Wise)
SiriusXM: 94/201 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: None | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

No. 11 FLORIDA GATORS AIR FORCE FALCONS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Dave Pilipovich
Record: 8-2 Record: 8-2
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Mountain West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -20.5 | O/U 131.5

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 1-0 all-time against Air Force with the lone game played in 1963 as part of the Gator Bowl Tournament. UF took a 74-68 victory in that game and is 3-1 all-time against service academies.
» The Gators are 9-2 all-time in the OBBC and will be participating in the event for the 12th time in the last 13 years.
» Four of UF’s regular starters are averaging double figures.
» Florida has held six of its 10 opponents under 50 points but has given up 61 or more points in three of its last six games (1-2).
» UF is 33-3 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (8-2 in 2012-13).
» The Gators were just 3-5 against top-25 opponents last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams. UF is currently scheduled to take on seven top-25 opponents as part of the 2012-13 campaign and is already 1-1 in such games.
» Florida is third nationally in scoring defense (51.3), eighth in scoring margin (+20.9), 13th in field goal percentage defense (.359) and 20th in rebound margin (+8.7).
» The Gators are ninth nationally in fouling, committing 13.6 per game, and 111th nationally in assists, dishing just 14.0 per game.
» All five Falcons starters are seniors.
» Air Force seventh nationally in three-pointers per game (9.1) and turnover margin (+6.1), 15th nationally in three-point shooting (.492) and 28th in assists (16.5).
» The Falcons are 199th in rebounding margin (-0.1) and 277th in free throw shooting, connecting on just 64.6 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.
» Air Force has eight players that have attempted 10 or more treys already this season.

Read the rest of the Florida-Air Force preview with much more after the break!

WHAT’S AT STAKE / PLAYER TO WATCH

FLORIDA
After blowing out opponents in its first seven games, Florida has been on a bit of a downswing as of late, losing two of its last three contests to a top-tier opponent in Arizona and up-and-comer in Kansas State. The Gators are hoping to conclude their non-conference schedule without another blemish and must take down a hot-shooting Falcons squad in order to do so. Florida has had at least two non-conference losses every season since the 2005-06 campaign and now must make sure it does not pick up a third in yet another neutral site contest.

» Senior guard Kenny Boynton (#1), on a massive slump in which he is 13-of-51 (.255) from the field and 4-of-32 (.125) from downtown over the last five games, will have a great opportunity to break out of his cold spell with a game that stands as an annual homecoming for him. Committing to the Gators out of Pompano Beach, FL, Boynton has historically done well in this event. He took home Most Valuable Player honors in 2011 after draining six threes as part of a game-high 22-point performance against Texas A&M. Boynton broke out of a similar shooting slump in the 2010 game, scoring a team-high 15 points to lead Florida over Kansas State. According to the UF school website, Boynton will see more action at off-guard, where he is more comfortable, after handling most of the point guard duties early in the year.

AIR FORCE
Florida was supposed to have the upper hand against Kansas State but slipped up in neutral site game in Kansas City, MO last week. The Gators should have a similar advantage over the Falcons heading into Saturday’s contest, but Air Force can certainly pull off an upset victory and continue what has already been the second-best start through 10 games in school history. The Falcons must stick with what they do best – draining threes – even though UF has at times shown it can play solid perimeter defense. Air Force must also figure out a way to stay even with Florida on the boards despite being one of the worst teams nationally in that area of the game. It will take a complete effort in all phases of the game, but the Falcons are undoubtedly prepared and ready to give it their best shot.

» Senior G Michael Lyons (#14) leads his conference in scoring and is by far and away the top basket-maker on Air Force, posting 20.5 points per game (the next two scorers combine for 21.4 points per contest). He also follows his shot well and uses his size (6’5”) to lead the team in rebounding with 5.3 boards per contest. Lyons also hits 70.3 percent of his free throws and can be pesky on defense, too. When a team’s offense is centered on one player like Lyons, limiting his effectiveness becomes priority number one for opposing defenses.

CLIMBING THE CHARTS

Boynton is in his fourth year as a starter for the Gators. He is quickly making his way up many of Florida’s all-time lists and is already first in school history in three-point field goal attempts (818). He currently leads the SEC in career points (1,713) and three-pointers (279) among active players.

Career scoring
1. Ronnie Williams – 2,090 points
4. Erving Walker – 1,777 points
5. Kenny Boynton – 1,713 points

Minutes
1. Erving Walker – 4,358
5. Ronnie Williams – 3,898
6. Kenny Boynton – 3,807

Starts
1. Andrew DeClerq – 128
4. Eugene McDowell – 117
5. Kenny Boynton – 115

Three-pointers made
1. Lee Humphrey – 288
2. Erving Walker – 285
3. Kenny Boynton – 279

Field goal attempts
1. Stacey Poole – 1,578
3. Gene Shy – 1,415
4. Dwayne Schintzius – 1,407
5. Kenny Boynton – 1,406

Boynton is also approaching the top 10 in games played (12 away), field goals made (14 away) free throws made (32 away) and assists (50 away).

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