Gators Win with Balanced Attack in D.C.

The Gators didn't show an offensive explosion Sunday, but they took a step in the right direction. Florida used a balanced scoring attack, with four starters in double figures, for a 67-48 victory over American University at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

"It was a good win for us," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said on his postgame radio show. "The one thing I was pleased about is we came out offensively and played the right way. It was our shot selection and the way the ball was moving. It's one thing about being aggressive, but it's another thing to be aggressive and not play with much intellect. Today, our basketball team really played a smart game."

Erving Walker led the team with 16 points, despite zero assists. Alex Tyus had 14 and Chandler Parsons had 13. Parsons was 5-for-7 from the field after struggling all season with his shot.

Ten of Parsons' 13 points came in the first half. Instead of taking bad shots because he was scoring, Parsons instead created opportunities for his teammates. He ended the game with four assists and eight rebounds.

"Chandler got off to a really good start and was a catalyst to our team," Donovan said. "What ends up happening is when you have an offensive first half, you can think it's your time and be too aggressive. Then you miss people when they're open, but Chandler really played within himself."

Vernon Macklin had his second consecutive good game on offense. After a 20-point performance against UCF on Wednesday, Macklin went 5-for-9 from the field on his way to 12 points. He also added four rebounds and two blocks.

The game was a homecoming for Macklin, who grew up three hours away and played his first two seasons of college basketball at nearby Georgetown.

"It feels pretty good," Macklin said. "I'm happy to get this win and see my mom. My mom came and saw me play for the first time since I've been at Florida, and my brother, too. I'm pretty happy right now."

The Gators went 25-for-51 (49%) from the field. Of the 25 field goals, there were assists on 18 of them. The ball movement and unselfishness was refreshing for Donovan, who ripped his team after Wednesday's loss to UCF for worrying too much about their own stats.

"For the first time, we really looked like a team that was trying to make the guy next to them better," Donovan said.

The Gators forced 17 American turnovers and held them to 43.2% shooting from the field. The Eagles went 4-for-15 from behind the three-point line.

The one Florida starter who wasn't in double digits was Kenny Boynton. He was 0-for-9 from the field, including 0-for-6 from behind the three-point line. It was the first time in his Florida career that Boynton was shut out, so he created for his teammates and had seven assists.

"I told him that this was a game where he got up the most shots on our team and the ball didn't go in the basket," Donovan said. "I don't remember a shot that was a bad shot. He had that kind of night. But the thing that will get lost for him is seven assists and zero turnovers. He played a very good game, besides the fact he didn't shoot well. I have enough confidence in him as a shooter that he will go on a roll some games and score a lot of points."

The Gators also went 11-for-13 from the free throw line, an area they have struggled this season.

Florida pushed the lead to 16 points early in the second half, before American made a run to cut it to eight. Instead of playing down to the level of the competition like they have at times this season, the Gators regrouped and pushed the lead back up to 21.

"I see some things inside our team that we need to get a little better at. Adversity hit our guys during that time, and we didn't respond real well. Right around the eight-minute timeout, we talked about responding to adversity. Give our guys a lot of credit because they played better and dug in."

The Gators return home Thursday night when they host Kent State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
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