The 10th ranked (pre-season)Florida men’s basketball team defeated Nebraska-Kearney 101-71 in an exhibition game Thursday night in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. This was the first meeting between the two schools.
UF returned three starters from last season’s Elite Eight squad; senior guard Kenny Boynton, senior forward Erik Murphy and junior center Patric Young, who all started the game. Finishing out the starting lineup was redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario and junior guard Scottie Wilbekin.
The Gators shot the ball fairly well in the first half, going 19 of 33 from the field (57%) and 5 of 12 (41%) from three point land. The Gators starting five went 8 of 18 from the field but it was senior guard Kenny Boynton leading the charge. In 14 minutes, Boynton went 4 of 7 (57%) for nine points. The added stability came from junior forward Will Yeguete and freshman guard Michael Frazier II off the bench. In 11 minutes Yeguete was 5 of 7 from the field (71%) with 11 points and six rebounds while Frazier was 4 for 5 and 2 for 2 behind the arc. In nine minutes the freshman was able to contribute 10 points as the Gators went into the half up 46-32. The Gators defense held Nebraska-Kearney to 13 of 32 from the field (40%), 5 of 13 from the three point line (38%) and caused eight turnovers.
In the second half Boynton remained hot while the rest of the starting five struggled to find some kind of rhythm. They shot 6 of 19 (31%) from the field while Boynton finished 6 of 9 (66%), 2 for 4 behind the arc (50%) and having a total of 14 points in his 22 minutes. Surprisingly enough it was the bench and more so the play of the freshmen that highlighted the second half. At one point with 14 minutes left in the second half, Florida head coach Billy Donovan had all four freshmen on the court. Playing 67 minutes, they went 17 of 24 from the floor (71%) scoring half of the team’s points (50) and going 8 of 10 (80%) from the three point line.
Frazier led Florida in scoring with 21 points while Yeguete finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Florida outrebounded the Lopers 32-29, had more assists 13-9 and less turnovers 19-11.
UF opens its regular season next Friday November 9th in Jacksonville when they will face the Georgetown Hoyas at 9 p.m.