Winless in Southeastern Conference play after two opportunities and dropping five of their last eight games overall, the Florida Gators (12-5, 1-2 SEC) and head coach Billy Donovan were looking to redeem themselves Saturday night against the LSU Tigers (9-8, 0-3 SEC). Redemption is exactly what Florida achieved after chomping LSU 72-58 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.
Freshman guard Kenny Boynton led the Gators with 18 points, but every member of Florida’s starting five posted double figures in points. Sophomore point guard Erving Walker and redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin each contributed 14 points while junior forwards Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons each accounted for 11. Parsons earned the start Saturday over senior F Dan Werner, who was ill but still played 20 minutes. Werner did not take a shot and scored one point off of a free throw.
Part of the reason for the Florida’s success Saturday was their proficiency from beyond the arc. Boynton shot 4-for-10 from three, Walker went 2-for-4 and Parsons added a trey on two attempts. As a team, the Gators shot 41.2 percent from three while limiting the Tigers to 16.7 percent on 12 attempts.
Florida got out to a 15-point lead in the first half, but LSU narrowed it to seven as the teams entered the locker room. However, the Gators opened the second half on a 23-6 run, led at one point by 24 and held on for the double-digit victory. Florida’s victory over the Tigers was their first since March 11, 2006.
Senior F Tasmin Mitchel carried LSU in the first half, scoring 15 of his team-high 17 points. His supporting cast faltered as none of his teammates had more than eight points. Mitchell also led his team in rebounds (nine) and steals (three).
The Gators travel to Fayetteville, AR, on Thursday to face-off against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The game will air live on ESPN at 9 p.m.
Photo Credit: Tricia Coyne/Gainesville Sun