Boynton scores 24 as Florida gets by UCF
by David Jones, USA TODAY Sports
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Kenny Boynton scored a season-high 24 points and Scottie Wilbekin added a career-best 17 to lead No. 8 Florida to a 79-66 win against Central Florida on Friday, but the Gators had some tough moments.
Florida (5-0) missed its first nine field goal attempts and UCF took a 5-0 lead to open the game. But Boynton’s first three-pointer put the Gators ahead to stay, 6-5.
The Knights (3-2) trailed just 13-12 when Florida started an 11-0 run to take control. After the early struggles, the Gators made 12 of 15 field goal tries to go up 24-12.
UCF got the game under double digits several times with some runs but, for the most part, it was the Gators’ game after that. Billy Donovan was less than thrilled with the way the game started and the way his team defended at times.
“We struggled with shooting the basketball to start the game,” Donovan said. But the tempo and holding the Knights to 38% shooting helped make things easier in the opening 20 minutes.
Donovan noted the Knights came back to cut the lead to seven after the break and shot 57% in the second half, including eight of 10 behind the arc.
“There’s been some slippage that I think we’ve got to get that back,” Donovan said of his team’s three-point defense.
For the Gators, it was actually a day of good news in many ways.
First, Boynton, who suffered a mild ankle sprain in Tuesday’s 58-40 win against Savannah State, looked completely recovered — especially in the first half when he was all over the floor running the point and had 12 points in the first 20 minutes alone.
Boynton said afterward his ankle hurt him so bad during practice on Thanksgiving Day that he had to have it iced midway through practice. But he felt fine on Friday.
Wilbekin, who started the season suspended because of undisclosed discipline issues, scored 11 points in the first half and looks to be back to his old self after knocking the rust off since being allowed back on the team Nov. 18 in the game in Tampa … [For more on Kenny Boynton scores 24 as No. 8 Florida gets by UCF, click here.]