TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario dropped 14 points apiece for No. 6 Florida on Wednesday night and the Gators beat rival Florida State in a rout, 72-47.
Florida (7-0) established itself early on in the game, jumping all over the Seminoles on their way to a 19-9 advantage out of the gate. The Gators used stingy defense to make life difficult for the ’Noles in the first half, forcing 13 FSU turnovers while allowing only 15 points in the first 20 minutes of action. Florida took a 35-15 lead into the break and FSU’s leading scorer, Michael Snaer, was held scoreless in the half.
The second half was not as one-sided, with Florida State (4-4) managing 32 points, but the Gators maintained a comfortable lead throughout the remainder of the game. Boynton and Rosario led the way offensively for Billy Donovan’s Gators, with Rosario’s 60 percent shooting mark – including a 50 percent clip from 3-point range – being particularly impressive.
Florida center Patric Young was solid once again, finishing the contest with 10 points and eight rebounds, four of which came on the offensive glass. As a team, the Gators shot 49.1 percent from the floor on Wednesday night, taking advantage of a young FSU squad that has not looked polished on either end of the floor this season.
The ’Noles were held in check all game and rounded out the evening with a pedestrian 34.8 percent mark from the floor. Snaer scored 10 points in the second half, but the Gators were too far out in front for it to make a dent for FSU, and forward Okaro White added nine points and six boards.
Florida had been winning by an average of 25 points per game coming into their match-up with FSU, and matched that margin once again inside the Tucker Center.
Texas A&M Takes Down Stephen F. Austin for 15th Straight Time
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M forward Ray Turner scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds and the Aggies handed Stephen F. Austin its first loss of the 2012 season, 62-54.
Taylor Smith led the way for SFA in a closely contested match-up, scoring 14 points to go along with seven boards, one block and a steal. Smith’s effort was not enough to topple Texas A&M (7-1) inside Reed Arena, where the Ags are now unbeaten this season in five tries. The difference in the game turned out to be A&M’s stellar shooting; TAMU connected on 50 percent of their field goal attempts on the evening, while the Lumberjacks were held under 40 percent.
Freshman J-Mychael Reese dropped 15 points in the win for the Aggies, eight of which came in the final three minutes of the game. Reese converted four free throws down the stretch to hold off SFA, and his 15 points tied his previous career high.
Antonio Bostic had a good night for the Lumberjacks (5-1), contributing 14 points on the game. Texas A&M held a lead throughout the entire second half, but Stephen F. Austin did manage to make the Aggies sweat by pulling to within four in the closing minutes.
Wednesday night’s showdown between the two Texas schools was the 22nd meeting all-time, and Texas A&M now holds a 19-3 lead in the series and has won 15 consecutive meetings.
Poor Shooting Night Dooms Tennessee at Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Tennessee held Virginia to 35 percent shooting on Wednesday night but the Volunteers simply couldn’t score enough to beat the Cavaliers in a 46-38 loss at John Paul Jones Arena.
Tennessee (4-3) faced as much as a 15-point deficit against UVA but managed to cut the lead down to four points with a minute remaining in the second half. Unfortunately for the Vols, the Cavaliers hit crucial free throws down the final stretch to hold Tennessee off and escape with the 8-point win.
The Cavaliers (7-2) took a 9-point advantage into the break and extended that lead to 15 early on in the second half thanks to an 11-0 run. Joe Harris spearheaded the offensive effort for Virginia with 13 points but, much like the Volunteers, the Cavs did not have a great night on that side of the floor. Tennessee limited UVA to just 10-of-53 from the floor (35.8 percent), but the Cavs managed 10 offensive rebounds to extend possessions.
Tennessee committed 12 turnovers on the night that did not help its cause. Trae Golden scored a team-high for the Vols, and Jarnell Stokes hauled in a team-best nine rebounds in the losing effort. Ultimately, Tennessee was unable to overcome its poor shooting effort, which started early as the Vols only connected on three of their first 11 shots.
The Volunteers return to action next week in Knoxville against Wichita State in the first of six consecutive home games.
Alabama Drops One at Home Against Dayton
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama fell to Dayton on Wednesday night, 81-76, inside Coleman Coliseum despite 16 points from Trevor Lacey.
In addition to his team-high in scoring, Lacey dished out five assists and grabbed three rebounds. The sophomore could not do enough to overcome big efforts by two Flyers, Josh Benson and Kevin Dillard, who eclipsed the 20-point mark against the Crimson Tide (6-2).
Dillard notched a game-high 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go along with six assists, which was also a game-high. Benson chipped in with 21 points of his own from the center position, connecting on 7-of-8 field goal attempts on the evening and hauling in six boards.
Despite the loss, the Tide turned in a balanced offensive effort against the Flyers (6-2). Four Alabama starters scored in double-digits on the evening, including Lacey, Trevor Releford, Rodney Cooper and Levi Randolph. Releford recorded 13 points on the night, Cooper added 12 and seven rebounds, and Randolph tacked on 15 on 50 percent shooting.
Alabama returns to the hardwood on Dec. 15 when it will travel to Richmond, Va., to take on VCU at 3 p.m. Central.