Boynton helps Florida down Vanderbilt
Gainesville, FL – Kenny Boynton scored 18 points, as No. 12 65 win over No. 25 Vanderbilt in Saturday's hard-fought SEC showdown.
Bradley Beal added 16 points and seven rebounds while Erving Walker finished with 11 points, five boards and five assists for the Gators (19-4, 7-1 SEC), who ran their season-high win streak to seven games. They have won 19 straight at the O'Connell Center.
Jeffery Taylor scored a game-high 25 points for the Commodores (16-7, 5-3). They had won 10 of 11 before dropping their last two. John Jenkins chipped in 15 points and Festus Ezeli had 11.
"It was a tough battle," said Jenkins. "We tried to come in here to get a good start, but the press hurt us a lot. That was the main difference in the game."
Florida was up 32-23 with just over three minutes left in the first half, but Vanderbilt closed on an 11-5 run, finishing with back-to-back buckets from Taylor and Jenkins to make it a 37-34 game at the break.
The Commodores carried the momentum out of the locker room, taking a 43-40 lead less than four minutes in behind seven points from Taylor. Florida was still down three, 49-46, when it reeled off 12 straight to go in front.
Beal supplied a pair of treys and a layup during the burst, as the Gators surged ahead, 58-49, with nine minutes remaining.
"We were teetering to start the second half and I had to encourage those guys to keep battling and I thought we did that," said Florida coach Billy Donovan.
Yet the back-and-forth action would not cease. Vanderbilt replied with a 7-0 push of its own, making it a two-point game on Jenkins' three-pointer.
Florida was still on top, 66-62, in the final minute when Walker penetrated and found an open Boynton for three, stretching the margin to seven. But Taylor answered on the other end with a step-back trey and the Commodores sent Beal to the line with 38 seconds left.
Beal went 2-for-2, making it 71-65, and Brad Tinsley threw the ball away on the Commodores' next possession, sealing their fate. Boynton capped the scoring with two more free throws, as Florida finished 16-of-17 from the stripe.
The Gators' seven-game win streak is their longest since starting the 2009-10 campaign 8-0. They are 13-0 at home this season...Vanderbilt leads the all- time series, 63-60, though the Gators have defeated the Commodores four straight times.