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Thursday December 29, 2011No. 10 Gators Drop Double Overtime Heartbreaker to Rutgers, 85-83

Piscataway, N.J.

Despite having four players score in double figures and holding the lead for most of the game, the No. 10 Florida Gators (10-3) dropped a heartbreaking double overtime contest to Rutgers (8-5), 85-83, this evening at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.


For the contest, UF was led by Kenny Boynton (Pampano Beach, Fla.), who scored 20 of his 26 points after halftime. Bradley Beal (St. Louis, Mo.) chipped in 15 points and seven boards, while Erik Murphy (South Kingston, R.I.) and Patric Young (Jacksonville, Fla.) rounded out the Gators in double figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively.  


Murphy poured in the first eight points of the game as the Gators jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead. The lead expanded to nine at 14-5, but Rutgers fought back and eventually tied the score at 21-21. From there, the teams played back-and-forth basketball as Florida went into the half with a 34-30 lead. The UF attack in the first was led by Murphy who had 10 points and three boards. He was closely followed by Beal who had seven points, four rebounds and two blocks.


The Gators started the second half strong, quickly extending their lead to nine behind four points from Boynton and a three point play from Beal forcing the Scarlet Knights into a time out just over two minutes into the frame.  Rutgers was able to chip away at the UF advantage and eventually knot the score at 51-51 8:52 left. The tie was short-lived as Erving Walker (Brooklyn, N.Y.) buried a deep triple to give the Gators the lead again. After Rutgers took its first lead of the night at 55-54, UF quickly responded with five points from Boynton to regain the four point advantage. The Gators were able to push their lead to seven with 2:04 remaining but the Scarlet Knights didn’t back down and scored the final seven points of regulation to send the Gators into their second overtime game of the season.


The first overtime was a back-and-forth affair. Boynton opened the OT session with a three, but Rutgers responded with the next five points to take a two point lead before Young converted on a three point play. The Scarlet Knights regained the advantage before Young again scored on the low block. Young then knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Gators a three point lead before RU responded yet again hitting a deep three that would send the game into a second OT, 76-76.


Rutgers struck first in the second overtime but Murphy quickly responded to tie the score. RU made a pair of unanswered jumpers to extend its lead to four before Beal hit a deep three to cut the lead to one. The one point advantage was short lived as the Scarlet Knights again knocked down an off balance three to push their lead back to four. Walker cut the lead to two with a runner in the lane with 45 ticks left setting up a dramatic finish. After the Gators forced Rutgers into a shot clock violation, UF had a chance to send the game into a third OT but Walkers jumper from just inside the ark hit the back of the rim, giving Rutgers the victory.


The Gators return to action on Saturday, Dec. 31 when they host Yale in a 2 p.m. contest at the O’Dome.  The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.


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