Gators Bounce Back With Blowout Win

Florida got just what it needed Saturday. Coming off a tough double overtime loss at Rutgers, the Gators got back into the win column with a 90-70 win over Yale. Florida has one more tune up for conference play on Tuesday when they host UAB, but Saturday's win was a step in the right direction towards forgetting Rutgers loss.

"It was a great win," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said on his post game radio show. "This is a very good team. Coming off day between this and the Rutgers game, you get concerned. I knew it was going to be a battle and their kids would be excited to play. They're a good team."

The Gators fell behind 9-0 early when Yale came out and hit a trio of three-pointers early. However, the Gators regrouped and dominated the game after that spurt was over.

What Florida showed after that was a complete performance. Kenny Boynton led the way with 26 points, while Patric Young had 19 and Erik Murphy has 18. Brad Beal had 11 points and led the team with seven rebounds.

"When you look at the stat sheet, we shoot 53% from the field, 57% from the three-point line and score 90 points," Donovan said. "We had 24 assists and seven turnovers. I said to them after the game that if you put that up on the board, would you be a balanced, good scoresheet? They said it was.

"(We) have to embrace playing like that. Tonight, Erik Murphy, Patric Young and Kenny Boynton made some shots. Who knows, next time it could be Erving Walker. It's the whole thing of getting them to have that excitement and enthusiasm when our team is playing like that and being able to accept that tonight isn't my night.

"When we shoot a low percentage or take ill advised shots, you look at the stat sheet and we're 45% from the field with 12 assists and 18 turnovers while 36% from the three-point line, no one is helping each other. When we all help each other, we become so difficult to guard. There's no reason we shouldn't score 80-100 points every game with the offense on this team. It's going to be someone different every game, and our guys have to embrace that."

The only starter that wasn't in double figures was point guard Erving Walker. The senior point guard has gotten off to a slow start for his final year and is still trying to find the best way for him to fit into the Florida offense that has scorers all over the court.

Donovan challenged him early in the season to lead the SEC in assists, and Walker is trying to find a way to make that happen. He and Young both had five assists on the game, while Walker had zero turnovers. For the first time since Walker has been on campus, the Gators don't need to depend on him scoring. Donovan is now trying to teach him how to become a complete point guard.

"I love Erving Walker," Donovan said. "The guy has played in so many games, but I'm trying to mold and help him to become what he can become to really help us. He's trying to figure out how to incorporate himself in with all these guys and when to pass and shoot. it has been a different role for him from last year to this year.

"He's got to stop the driving to the basket and shooting these off balance shots. It's a low percentage shot that never goes in. He's hoping the official bails him out with a foul and they're not. He just needs to play the game between 7-10 assists every game. That should be his motto every game-- go out and try to get ten assists every game."

Yale forward Greg Mangano gave the Gators some trouble. The 6-10 center scored 26 points and had 15 rebounds while also being able to step out and hit four three-point shots.

"They've got a legitimate pro," Donovan said about Mangano. "He had a heck of a game. Patric Young did a really good job on him. He's unique, an unorthodox player. I don't think Patric has faced someone like that. He shoot step backs and he shoots behind his head. I think Patric was surprised a couple times."

Florida now gets two days to regroup before hosting UAB on Tuesday. The Gators will then travel to Tennessee on January 7th to open SEC play. The practices before then will feature plenty for Florida to work on.

"Things are flouring that we've got to address and get better at," Donovan said. "We will do that and they want to do that. Our guys are emotionally drained from the Rutgers situation and now this game. We just need to get back mentally and physically."

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