Florida grounds Air Force 78-61 in Sunrise

In front of a crowd filled with orange and blue even though Saturday’s contest was billed as a neutral site game, No. 11/14 Florida Gators basketball (9-2) put together a strong second half to ground the Air Force Falcons (8-3) in the 2012 Orange Bowl Classic at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL.

Florida, behind three second-half three-pointers from senior guard Kenny Boynton, outscored Air Force by 15 and hit 70 percent of its shots in the final 20 minutes, pulling away for a 78-61 victory.

Erik Murphy, who was voted the contest’s MVP after registering a game-highs of 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks. He shot 8-of-10 from the floor and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.

Though the Falcons stuck to what they were good at and succeeded in keeping the game close by going 9-for-20 from three, UF blew it open in the second half with a 36-24 advantage on the boards and an overwhelming 38 points in the paint.

Senior forward Patric Young also scored in double-digits for Florida, posting 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting with four boards and a rejection.

Air Force standout senior G Michael Lyons registered team-highs of 11 points and seven rebounds but went just 3-of-12 from the floor in the game.

The Gators will conclude their non-conference schedule after the New Year by travelling to Yale on Jan. 6 for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off on NBC Sports Network.

Read the Florida-Air Force post-game report…after the break!
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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!
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