College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 9, 2011
After an early season schedule that saw the Florida Gators play Ohio State, Syracuse and Arizona, coach Billy Donovan and his players got a bit of a break in the schedule, topping Metro Atlantic's Rider Broncs, 90-69, on a neutral court in Jacksonville.
Fewer than 3500 fans were in attendance to see junior guard Kenny Boynton put on an offensive display with a season high 26 points on 9 of 13 shooting, including five 3-pointers on nine attempts.
Despite two losses, the 7-2 Gators are ranked #12 in the country, basically because their defeats came at the hands of two powerhouse programs, Ohio State and Syracuse, currently the #2 and #3 teams in the country, respectively, according to AP voters.
Boynton added five rebounds and three assists, and has scored in double figures in all but one of Florida's games this season.
The Gators look to be one of the top teams in the SEC this season, along with Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi State. Last season, they lost in the SEC championship to the John Calipari's Wildcats, currently the top team in the polls, and reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament, falling to eventual runner-up Butler, 74-71.
Even though Florida and Rider each shot 49% from the field and 42% from 3-point range, the difference in the game was possessions and three-point shots. Florida only turned to ball over six times, while Rider committed 12 turnovers. The Gators also squeezed off 14 more shots than the Broncs, and hit 14 treys to Riders eight.
The Gators will be off for a week, their next game not until December 17, when they host #25, Texas A&M.