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Gators forward Will Yeguete continues to show signs of improvement after a knee injury.

Friday March 15, 2013Gators Notebook: Boynton's contribution, Alabama on deck, Yeguete's recovery, more tidbits

Gators forward Will Yeguete continues to show signs of improvement after a knee injury.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The initial glance at the box score from Florida's 80-58 win over LSU on Friday is not too kind to Gators senior guard Kenny Boynton.

Field goals: 1-for-7, 3-pointers: 0-for-4.

Considering that Boynton is the second all-time leading scorer in school history, it would be easy to dismiss Boynton's game Friday as a bad one in the SEC Tournament.

Florida coach Billy Donovan has a different view.

"I really thought he played well,'' Donovan said. "Kenny took really good shots. They didn't go in. I have confidence when he takes those kinds of shots that he can go on a run."

Boynton's cold spell of late is no secret. He is shooting less than 40 percent on the season and has struggled to find his shooting stroke the past two months.

Still, Boynton contributed seven assists in 25 minutes Friday. With their shooting aim off the mark of late, Donovan has urged Boynton and guard Mike Rosario to find other ways to help the team.

"I think Kenny took that to heart today,'' Donovan said. "He found guys in a lot of key situations and in particularly found Scottie Wilbekin."

Wilbekin should send Boynton a thank-you card. Wilbekin scored 16 points and hit 4 of 5 3-pointers, including three in the second half on assists from Boynton.

"I was just open and I hit them,'' Wilbekin said.

"When I drove, he did a great job of relocating,'' Boynton added. "His man came to me every time and he relocated and I found him every time."

ALABAMA REMATCH

The Gators defeated Alabama two weeks ago at the O'Connell Center to open up breathing room on their way to winning the SEC regular-season title.

In Friday's second game, Alabama advanced with a 58-48 victory over Tennessee, setting up a semifinals rematch with Florida on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.

The Gators dug out of a 45-37 deficit to the Crimson Tide -- their largest deficit at home all season -- and finished on a 27-7 run on March 2 at the O'Dome. They hope to avoid a similar deficit Saturday.

"They did a great job of pressuring us,'' Boynton said. "In transition, they are a tough team. We've got to do a great job of getting back in transition. Their strength is outside. They play through their guards."

BUZZER BEATER

Donovan called a timeout right before the first half ended as the Gators played for the final shot. It turned out to be quite a shot, a 3-pointer by freshman guard Michael Frazier as the buzzer sounded, giving the Gators a 43-28 halftime lead.

"He can make those,'' Wilbekin said. "Coach D did a good job coaching this game."

Donovan said the shot provided an extra dose of adrenaline as the players headed to the locker room.

"I thought LSU defended it pretty well,'' he said. "He was able to get it off. No question there's momentum."

Frazier bruised his left hand earlier in the game and was hit on the hand during the shot. He was taken for x-rays at halftime and they came back negative. He finished with 11 points, third on the team.

ON THE WAY BACK

Junior forward Will Yeguete played 21 minutes Friday, his most extended playing time since returning from a knee injury on March 2 against Alabama.

Yeguete appeared more agile than in recent games and added three points, four rebounds and one assist.

"Doing the rehab every day for my knee, I keep getting better,'' he said. "I'm getting close. I think I still have to push off more. I'm getting really close."

WHITE OUT

Fans love to talk about uniforms, certainly more than the players and coaches.

This is a stat both will like: Florida improved to 19-0 this season when wearing its white uniforms. The Gators are 6-4 in their blue uniforms and 0-2 in their orange.

"You told me something new. Honestly, I didn't even know,'' Boynton said. "We'll take it. I think we're wearing white all weekend, so we'll take it."

QUOTE OF NOTE

"You just try to find him so you can get an assist. You know he's knocking them down.'' -- Wilbekin on senior forward Erik Murphy's 11-of-15 shooting performance.

NOTES AND NUGGETS

Donovan is 5-0 in his career in head-to-head meetings with Alabama coach Anthony Grant, a former Donovan assistant at UF ... Florida has won its first game in the SEC Tournament for five consecutive seasons ... The 22-point margin of victory matched the second-largest in school history in the SEC Tournament, last accomplished with a 91-69 win over Vanderbilt in 2004 ... SEC Commissioner Mike Slive presented the SEC regular-season championship trophy to the Gators during a midcourt ceremony prior to the game ... The Gators improved to 22-0 when they hold opponents to 60 points or less.

 

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