GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Erving Walker scored 20 points, Kenny Boynton added 11 and No. 20 Florida beat overmatched Radford 66-55 on Wednesday night.
The Gators bounced back from a numbing home loss to Jacksonville, but probably did little to avoid falling out of the rankings for the second time this season.
Chandler Parsons finished with nine points, eight rebounds and five assists for Florida (9-3), which opened the season ranked ninth but dropped steadily after close wins over Morehead State, Florida Atlantic and Florida State. The Gators fell out of the AP poll following a three-point loss to Central Florida earlier this month.
Florida regained its ranking after upsetting then-No. 6 Kansas State last weekend, but followed that with the lackluster loss to Jacksonville on Monday. Afterward, coach Billy Donovan questioned his team's ability to handle success.
Florida had little trouble with Radford (2-9), which ranks 328th in the nation in scoring and has lost nine in a row.
The Gators scored the first nine points of the game, opened up a double-digit lead early in the second half and then started to pull away late.
Johnathan Edwards led Radford with 15 points and nine rebounds. Jareal Smith added 12, and Gorkem Sonmez had 11.
Donovan pulled his starters in the closing minutes, with his team ahead by 18, but had to put them back in when the Highlanders used an 11-3 run to cut the lead in half.
Radford shot 50 percent from the field, but couldn't overcome 24 turnovers.
The game probably would have been much closer without Walker's performance. He was 6 of 9 shooting from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
The rest of the team was a combined 4 of 18 from behind the arc. Radford played Florida in a tightly packed zone — something the Gators might see more of down the road — in hopes of taking away center Vernon Macklin.
Macklin was scoreless in the first half and only got six shots overall.
Walker and Boynton ended up settling for outside shots. Boynton was 3 of 9 from 3-point range. Parsons missed all four of his 3s, continuing his shooting woes. He shot an airball and nearly whiffed from the foul line. Scottie Wilbekin was 1 for 4 from behind the arc.
That kind of shooting performance might not matter against Radford, but it could haunt the Gators the rest of the way. Florida has one "preseason" game remaining — against Fairfield next week — then plays Xavier and Rhode Island before beginning the Southeastern Conference slate.