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.
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the rest of the Florida-Yale game story.]With Florida holding a 12-point lead three minutes into the second half, Yale put together a 6-0 run to cut their deficit to just six points. However, Gators junior F Erik Murphy responded with back-to-back makes from beyond the arc to negate the run. Minutes later, Boynton hit a pair of treys and Murphy added yet another as part of a 9-2 run that gave UF a 17-point lead.
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.[/EXPAND]