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Gators pull away to rout Middle Tennessee

Sunday - 11/18/2012, 7:43pm  ET

By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Kenny Boynton had 20 points and Will Yeguete scored 11 and grabbed 13 rebounds to help No. 10 Florida pull away to a 66-45 victory over Middle Tennessee on Sunday.

Boynton scored the final 13 points 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 finished a fast break with a dunk and Boynton hit a 3-pointer to begin his game-ending spurt.

Marcos Knight led Middle Tennessee with 12 points and Shawn Jones added 10 for the Blue Raiders, who trailed 29-26 at halftime.

Florida turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, limiting the Blue Raiders to 27 percent shooting after the break. Middle Tennessee missed seven of eight shots while the Gators were taking control over an eight-minute stretch.

Patric Young had nine points and 10 rebounds for Florida, which led by three at the half despite shooting 39 percent and not getting much offensive production from its top two scorers, Erik Murphy and Boynton, who began game needing four points to move ahead of Dwayne Schintzius into sixth-place on the school's career scoring list.

Murphy, coming off 10 for 10 shooting and scoring a career-best 24 points in an 18-point win over No. 22 Wisconsin, didn't even attempt a shot until making a 3-pointer midway through the opening half. He finished 2 of 4 with six points, well below the 19.7 he averaged in the Gators' first two games.

Boynton, averaging 16 points, missed his first four shots and didn't score until making a pair of free throws with just over a minute to play in the half. The senior guard finished with a flourish, though, making three 3-pointers and two more free throws to eliminate any hopes Middle Tennessee had of rallying.

After their scheduled season opener against Georgetown was canceled because of poor court conditions aboard the USS Bataan docked in Jacksonville, the Gators returned home to begin with lopsided wins over Alabama State and Wisconsin, which led the nation in scoring defense last season.

Florida made six 3-pointers against the Badgers and seven more against Middle Tennessee, which missed eight of 10 from behind the arc on the way to shooting 32 percent.

Meanwhile, the Gators went 10 of 17 from the field (58.8 percent) after halftime to warm up to 46.7 percent overall.

Neither team led by more than six before Boynton made a driving layup for his first field goal, then added a free throw to complete a 3-point play that put Florida up 37-28 with 15 minutes left.

Boynton finished 5 of 12 from the field _ 3 for 7 on 3-point attempts _ and made all seven of his free throws.

Middle Tennessee returned 10 of its top 12 scorers from last season, when the Blue Raiders went 27-7 on the way to the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Sunday was the team's first game against a ranked team since a 75-54 loss to Tennessee on Dec. 11, 2009.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)