Attempting to put a good taste back in their mouths after being upset by Rutgers on the road Thursday, the No. 10 Florida Gators (11-3) overpowered the Yale Bulldogs (8-4) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on New Year’s Eve, defeating their Ivy League opponent 90-70 just eight hours before closing out 2011.
Gators junior guard Kenny Boynton and Bulldogs forward Greg Mangano led the way for their squads as each registered a game-high 26 points. Boynton posted his on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting while going 5-for-7 from downtown, while Mangano hit 11-of-18 shots from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Yale started off by hitting three straight shots from downtown to take a 9-0 advantage, but Florida immediately answered with a 17-3 run and 29-6 scoring stretch to take a 29-15 lead with 9:55 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs hung around though and used an 8-1 run late in the half to pull within five of the Gators. Consecutive three-pointers by Boynton – including his traditional four-point play – kept Florida ahead of Yale, but the Bulldogs went 9-for-14 from downtown in the opening half and kept the Gators’ advantage at 11 points heading into the break.
Florida kept their foot on the pedal from that point forward. Freshman Bradley Beal took a great pass in for a one-handed dunk and followed that up with an alley-oop to sophomore center Patric Young. Young added seven more points as part of a personal 9-0 run that put the Gators ahead 83-57 with less than four minutes left in the game.
Complementing Boynton’s stellar performance, Young finished with 19 points, five rebounds and a career-high five assists while shooting 60 percent from the floor and hitting 7-of-8 shots from the free throw line.
Murphy posted a career-high 18 points while going 5-for-7 from downtown, and Beal added 11 points (including three highlight dunks) along with eight boards.
Mangano also registered a game-high 15 rebounds (five offensive) and blocked two shots in the contest, completing his impressive effort for Yale.
The Bulldogs outrebounded the Gators 31-28 (11-5 offensive), but Florida outshot Yale from the floor (53.4 to 42.2 percent), three-point range (57.1 to 50.0 percent) and the charity stripe (69.6 to 62.5 percent). UF had 24 assists on 31 made baskets and sported a 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio (24:7) on the afternoon.
Florida will begin 2012 with their final non-conference game as UF will host UAB on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. The game will air live on FOX Sports Network (check your local listings). The Gators begin SEC action on Jan. 7 with an 11 a.m. contest at Tennessee.