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Florida Gators pull away from Florida A&M in second half

Florida’s Alex Tyus hits a jumper over Florida A&M’s Yannick Crowder in the first half for two of his 15 points.

Associated Press

Florida’s Alex Tyus hits a jumper over Florida A&M’s Yannick Crowder in the first half for two of his 15 points.

GAINESVILLE — In the wake of Florida's 80-59 win over Florida A&M on Tuesday night, guard Ray Shipman was pretty sure he and his teammates were back in coach Billy Donovan's doghouse.

And Shipman thinks it might be a good thing.

In their first game as a ranked team this season, the No. 13 Gators (7-0) never trailed but led by just four points at halftime against the Rattlers (0-8) after Dan Werner's last-second 3-pointer.

Florida opened the second half with a 16-1 run and wasn't challenged from there.

A letdown may have been expected after three big wins last week against Florida State, then-No. 2 Michigan State and Rutgers.

Shipman, who replaced leading scorer Kenny Boynton in the starting lineup Tuesday, said the team didn't want to negate its strong performances against Michigan State and Rutgers.

"Now we're back in coach's doghouse," he said. "It's bad to be in coach's doghouse, but in a way, it's like a fire under your tail trying to make you a little bit better."

Werner had 16 points to lead four Florida players in double figures. Alex Tyus added 15, Vernon Macklin 14 and Erving Walker 10.

Boynton had started every game this season and averaged almost 33 minutes. He finished with one point against FAMU on 0-of-7 shooting, well below his season average of 15.8.

Shipman said he found out Monday night he would be taking Boynton's starting spot, and Donovan said Boynton has been battling an illness.

"He's been battling a little bit of a flu bug in his stomach," Donovan said. "That's why he didn't play a lot of minutes tonight. … I didn't even know if he was going to play in the second half."

UF led by as many as 14 points in the first half but gave up a 17-4 run. Werner said Donovan's halftime message was simple: Guard somebody.

The Gators responded by holding the Rattlers to 33 percent shooting in the second half, including 2-of-10 on 3-pointers.

But the biggest lesson from Tuesday night might be to remind Florida that it hasn't won anything yet.

"I thought we lost our focus. It's a great opportunity to learn because here's the same team that beat Rutgers and Michigan State four or five days ago and everyone's talking about rankings," Donovan said.

"I'm not sure we could've been ranked in the top 300 with the way we played tonight."

No. 13 UF 80

FAMU 59

Florida Gators pull away from Florida A&M in second half 12/01/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:33pm]
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