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Florida Gators basketball team ends three-game losing streak with win over American

Florida’s Erving Walker tries to knock the ball loose from American’s Blake Jolivette in the first half.

Associated Press

Florida’s Erving Walker tries to knock the ball loose from American’s Blake Jolivette in the first half.

GAINESVILLE — Alex Tyus had 20 points and nine rebounds, Kenny Boynton added 19 points, and Florida snapped a three-game losing streak with a 76-60 victory over American University on Monday night.

Vernon Macklin had a career-high 18 points for the Gators (9-3), who won for the first time since Dec. 4.

Florida had been ranked as high as No. 10 but dropped close games against Syracuse, Richmond and South Alabama.

The Gators rebounded against American, an NCAA Tournament team in 2009 that is rebuilding after losing several seniors. The Eagles (2-11) made it close by outscoring Florida in the second half and making 10 of 24 3-pointers.

Nick Henden led American with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Vlad Moldoveanu added 14 points and was 4-of-6 from behind the arc.

Florida scored the first nine of the game, seven by Tyus, and held American to just four field goals in the first half. Boynton banked in a running 40-footer at the buzzer that put the Gators ahead 39-18.

But little went right for the Gators after intermission. They struggled to defend the 3-point line, gave up offensive rebounds and were outscored 42-37.

The Eagles trailed by 23 early in the second half but rallied to make it 70-60 in the final minute. Matthew Wilson missed two free throws for American, though, and Tyus responded by hitting two, dashing any chance of a comeback.

Nonetheless, it was the third consecutive game in which Florida played a poor second half. Coach Billy Donovan's team blew an eight-point halftime lead against Richmond and threw away a late lead against South Alabama.

Some of Florida's troubles can be attributed to injuries. Forwards Chandler Parsons (leg) and Erik Murphy (shoulder) have played through pain, and guard Ray Shipman (knee) and center Kenny Kadji (back) didn't play Monday.

Donovan used seven scholarship players, including Murphy, who played just six minutes.

The Eagles shot 52 percent in the second half, including 8-of-16 from behind the arc, many of them on open looks.

Florida 76

American 60

Florida Gators basketball team ends three-game losing streak with win over American 12/28/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 28, 2009 11:09pm]
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