JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The first half of Florida’s game against Rider at Veterans Memorial Arena belonged to center Patric Young.
Added together it was an easy victory for the 12th-ranked Gators (7-2).
Young scored all 12 of his points and grabbed seven rebounds in the first half as Florida dominated Rider inside. Young took just one shot in the second half while Boynton, Beal and Walker combined to go 9-for-13 from 3-point range and score a combined 38 points.
“They played us in that zone the entire game and it gave me an opportunity, and my teammates were able to find me really well in the first half,” said Young, who finished with 10 rebounds for his fourth career double-double. “In the second half they kind of shut me down -- I only took one shot in the second half -- but it opened up our perimeter. That’s what people have been asking questions about this whole year. Once they shut off one part of our game, will another part be open? We were able to grow from that and knock down some shots.”
More importantly, they took goods shots within the flow of the offense, which was something the Gators didn’t do in Wednesday’s overtime victory over Arizona. Boynton, Beal and Walker combined to go 9-for-36 from the floor, including 3-for-18 from 3-point range against the Wildcats. Against Rider, the trio was 20-for-37 from the floor and 12-for-23 from 3-point range.
“We took what the defense gave us,” said Boynton, whose 26 points were two shy of his career high. “In the first half pretty much we drove the ball. In the second half they kind of sagged off of us and we took outside shots.”
Player of the game: Boynton rebounded from his worst game of the season with a season-high 26 points. He went 9-for-13 from the field, including 5-for-9 from 3-point range. He also had five rebounds, three assists and no turnovers. That's much better than his performance against Arizona, when he went 2-for-11 from the field and 1-for-6 from 3-point range and scored a season-low nine points in the Gators' overtime victory.
Stat of the game: Florida had made at least 11 3-pointers in its first six games but that streak stopped against Syracuse (9-for-26), and the Gators went just 7-for-26 from 3-point range against Arizona. UF was struggling from 3-point range again in the first half against Rider, but the Gators picked it up to start the second half. The Gators made six of their first seven 3-point attempts and finished 14-for-33. That tied the season high set against Stetson.
What did we learn: Florida actually CAN shoot free throws. After going 15-for-32 from the free-throw line against Arizona, including 7-of-20 in regulation, the Gators made 6-of-10 against Rider (1-9). The Gators entered the game shooting 59.6 percent from the free-throw line through their first eight games.
Noteworthy: Florida turned the ball over only once in the first half, and that came with less than two minutes remaining when Beal got caught in the lane on a drive to the basket. UF finished with 25 assists and six turnovers. Both were season bests. ... The Gators are off until playing Texas A&M in Sunrise, Fla., on Dec. 17. ... Florida is now 8-0 in games played at Jacksonville's Veterans Memorial Arena. That includes victories over South Alabama and Wisconsin-Milwaukee to begin the 2006 NCAA Tournament. … Walkers’ 12 points gave him 1,455 for his career and moved him past Chandler Parsons into 12th place on the school’s all-time scoring list. He needs 90 points to surpass Bob Emrick and take sole possession of 10th place.