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Three-point shooting key in UF win against Auburn

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Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 12:29 am

Before Saturday’s game, Kenny Boynton remembered what happened at Auburn Arena two seasons ago. 

During an ugly 45-40 win against the Tigers on Jan. 20, 2011, the Gators shot a dismal 28.3 percent and went 5 of 26 from beyond the arc. Boynton had a rough game, scoring nine points on 3-of-13 shooting and going 2 of 9 from three-point range. 

“We thought about it,” Boynton said. “We knew the game could be as close as it was two years ago.” 

Thanks to hot outside shooting, the Gators had Saturday afternoon’s contest practically wrapped up by halftime. 

No. 7 Florida (21-3, 11-1 Southeastern Conference) buried a season-best 15 three-pointers on 30 attempts in its 83-52 road victory against Auburn. 

“We couldn’t get nothing to fall two years ago, but [Saturday] everyone was on,” Boynton said. “All of us did a great job of knocking down shots.”

Behind junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin’s 10 assists, the Gators tallied a season-best 25 assists and had success finding the open man on the perimeter. 

Twelve of the Gators’ 15 made three-point field goals came in catch-and-shoot situations. Nine were uncontested.

Florida did not shy away from taking threes, attempting more than half of its field goals from the perimeter. During their past five games, the Gators have heaved 44.4 percent of its shots from three-point range. 

As long as his players take good looks, the high percentage doesn’t bother coach Billy Donovan.

“Who scores is just a guy being in the right spot at the right time,” Donovan said. “We’re just going to take the extra pass and move and share it.”

Boynton passed Andrew DeClercq on Saturday as Florida’s all-time leader with 129 starts, and the senior guard pieced together an impressive shooting performance. 

Boynton drained 4 of his 9 attempts from behind the arc to score 16 points. All of his threes came on the wing.

Freshman guard Michael Frazier II led the Gators’ three-point barrage, drilling 6 of his 7 three-point attempts to record a career-best 18 points. 

Four of Frazier’s threes came in the second half. Utilizing backdoor cuts and screens, he found himself uncontested on all but one three-point attempt.  

Mike Rosario contributed to UF’s three-point barrage but found more success attacking the basket. The redshirt senior guard went 2 of 6 from beyond the arc but finished with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting.

Rosario and Boynton combined for four of Florida’s seven threes in the first half and helped the Gators end the first 20 minutes on a 17-5 run to take a 47-22 lead at halftime. 

Senior forward Erik Murphy, the SEC’s leading three-point shooter at 50 percent, made 3 of 4 threes Saturday for 11 points. 

The undersized Tigers (9-16, 3-9 SEC) converged inside the paint for much of the contest, trying to contain 6-foot-9, 249-pound center Patric Young.

While the Tigers held Young to just two points and three rebounds, they often ignored the perimeter. 

“They doubled [Young],” Donovan said. “They did some things when he got the ball. They were very, very aggressive. When the ball came out of the post … we got extra movement.”

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