Gainesville, FL – Coming off another tough road loss, the ranked Florida Gators return to the friendly confines of the O'Connell conference action in Gainesville.
Billy Donovan's team is 11-3 on the season, but has yet to win a true road game. The first two losses on the road came to national title contenders Ohio State and Syracuse and were probably expected. Florida had another opportunity to earn a road win this week, but instead lost a heart-breaking 85-83 double- overtime affair at Rutgers.
The Bulldogs are off to a good start this season, having won eight of their first 11 games. Yale should be an Ivy League contender in 2012 and certainly possesses enough talent to make a run at the crown. The Bulldogs showed their mettle on the road at Wake Forest this week, despite dropping a 72-71 decision to the Demon Deacons. The loss snapped a six-game win streak for Yale.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
The Bulldogs battled back from 19 points down in the second half, but simply ran out of time in the one-point loss in Winston-Salem. Center Greg Mangano had a huge night, recording his fourth double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds. He also had three blocks, giving him the school record with 174 in his career. Austin Morgan poured in 15 points in support, while Reggie Willhite chipped in 10. Mangano is the team's top option and has been dominant in the low post this season, averaging team-highs of 17.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Morgan and Willhite provide adequate scoring balance with 14.6 and 12.6 ppg, respectively. The Bulldogs are outscoring foes this season by just over nine points per game and own a +5.4 rebounding margin.
Florida certainly knows a thing or two about balanced scoring. All five Gators are averaging double figures at the moment, led by sniper Kenny Boynton. The 6-2 junior is netting 18.9 ppg this season, while shooting a hefty .438 from behind the arc (46-of-105). Bradley Beal and Erving Walker add to the perimeter assault at 15.5 and 13.8 ppg, respectively. Center Patric Young is getting the job done down low, averaging 11.3 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game, while getting help in the frontcourt from Erik Murphy (10.0 ppg). Overall, Florida is shooting a healthy .476 from the field and putting up 85.5 ppg. Despite having the lead for most of the game in Piscataway, Florida was unable to seal the deal against Rutgers and lost in a marathon double-overtime affair. Boynton was sensational, especially in the second half, where he scored 20 of his team-high 26 points. Beal added 15 points and seven rebounds, but was guilty of seven turnovers. Murphy and Young rounded out the top scorers for Florida with 14 and 11 points, respectively.