Posted November 19, 2012 on
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Florida believes it will benefit from facing a physical opponent in its most recent game, but it might have to battle some fatigue in its next one.
The seventh-ranked Gators will have a short turnaround before Tuesday night's matchup with a visiting Savannah State team that's been competitive in each of its games.
Florida didn't get quite the challenge it might have expected from then-No. 22 Wisconsin on Wednesday as it won 74-56. Instead, the Gators were tested early in Sunday's game against Middle Tennessee State.
They led by only three at halftime before pulling away for a 66-45 win. Kenny Boynton scored the final 13 points for Florida (3-0) and finished with 20.
The Gators had to endure some bumps while earning the victory as they were fouled a season-high 24 times and outrebounded for the first time.
"This is one of the most physical teams I've played against in a long time," Boynton said. "In the end, we're going to benefit from playing them."
Florida, though, had only one day to recover and will face a program that has made significant strides since getting blown out 113-67 in its only matchup with the Gators on Jan. 18, 2006, in Gainesville.
Savannah State finished 2-28 that season after going 0-28 in the previous campaign, but it went 21-12 in 2011-12 and claimed the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's regular-season title in its inaugural season in the league.
The Tigers return all five starters from that team, including MEAC preseason player of the year Rashad Hassan.
Hassan, averaging a team-best 16.0 points on 69.4 percent shooting, had 17 on Sunday while helping his team rally from an 18-point deficit at Central Florida. Savannah State (3-2), though, fell 53-50.
The Tigers' other loss was 58-55 to Middle Tennessee State last Tuesday.
"They've been playing very, very good basketball. They've been in a lot of really close games," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "They had a chance to beat Middle Tennessee State, which is obviously a good team. They almost beat UCF. This is a team that while they've come up a little short, they've been right there."
Florida is off to its best start since winning its first eight games in 2009-10, and some stellar defensive efforts have helped keep the Gators unbeaten. They're giving up 45.3 points per game on 29.7 percent shooting and held Middle Tennessee to 27.0 percent in the second half Sunday.
Florida is 23-0 all-time against MEAC teams and has earned 21 of those wins in Donovan's tenure.
Boynton needs 38 points to surpass Stacey Poole for fifth place on the school's all-time scoring list.
BEST OF MAXIM
TAMPA, Fla. -- Kenny Boynton had 20 points and Will Yeguete scored 11 and grabbed 13 rebounds Sunday to help No. 10 Florida pull away to a 66-45 victory over Middle Tennessee. Boynton scored the final 13 of the game for the Gators (3-0), who opened the second half with a 14-2 run and never looked back. Middle Tennessee (2-1) trimmed a 15-point deficit to nine before Mike Rosario...
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Kenny Boynton had 20 points and Will Yeguete scored 11 and grabbed 13 rebounds Sunday to help No. 10 Florida pull away to a 66-45 victory over Middle Tennessee.
Boynton scored the final 13 of the game for the Gators (3-0), who opened the second half with a 14-2 run and never looked back.
Middle Tennessee (2-1) trimmed a 15-point deficit to nine before Mike Rosario...
The intensity of the Middle Tennessee State defense took No. 10 Florida time to adjust in the first half. The Gators adjusted in the second half and forced the offense into the paint, helping Florida run away with the game. Kenny Boynton scored 20 points while Will Yeguete posted his second career double-double as the Gators secured a 66-45 win in Tampa.
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No. 6 Florida will have quarterback Jeff Driskel back against rival and 10th-ranked Florida State.
Driskel sat out Saturday's 23-0 win over Jacksonville State because of a sprained right ankle. Jacoby Brissett completed 14 of 22 passes for 154 yards.
Driskel was on the sideline without a walking boot, a good sign for Florida (10-1). Coach Will Muschamp says Driskel worked out...
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel will start Saturday's game at rival Florida State.
Coach Will Muschamp announced Driskel's status Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference.
Muschamp says Driskel ''looked very good in practice'' Tuesday and will be ''ready to go'' when the sixth-ranked Gators (10-1) travel to Tallahassee...
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The Blue Raiders got physical with the bigger, stronger Gators, playing the kind of defense coach Kermit Davis felt they had to play to have a chance Sunday. They just couldn't do it for 40 minutes in a 66-45 loss.
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