No. 11 Florida Gators beat LSU Tigers 74-52

Guard Kenny Boynton, diving for a loose ball in front of LSU guard Malik Morgan during the second half, leads the Gators with 20 points.

Associated Press

Guard Kenny Boynton, diving for a loose ball in front of LSU guard Malik Morgan during the second half, leads the Gators with 20 points.

BATON ROUGE — No. 11 Florida made up for a lack of manpower by dominating the boards.

Will Yeguete had 13 rebounds to lead five Gators with at least seven, and short-handed Florida cruised to a 74-52 victory over LSU on Saturday.

Florida starting guard Mike Rosario sat out with an ankle sprain. His replacement, Casey Prather, suffered a high ankle sprain during the game. He had six points in 13 minutes.

"I was really, really pleased," said Florida coach Billy Donovan, who used just eight players. "We had two veteran guys out and really kind of found out (they were out) relatively close to tip. I thought it was a really, really good win for our guys."

Florida outrebounded LSU 53-34, but Tigers big man Johnny O'Bryant III is still recovering from a leg injury and played only 14 minutes.

"We did a good job crashing the boards," said Yeguete, who has right knee tendinitis. "The big man, the 7-(foot)-3 guy (Andrew Del Piero), was tired, so we just kept crashing him over and over."

Kenny Boynton scored 20 and Patric Young 14 for the Gators (12-2, 2-0 SEC). Yeguete had 10 points.

Both teams struggled to find their shots early, but Florida's aggressive defensive rebounding and stingy possessions allowed the Gators to build a 15-10 lead. The Tigers rallied, with Anthony Hickey finding Del Piero slicing through the paint to lay in a tying basket.

The teams traded baskets before Florida broke a tie at 19 with a 10-1 run to end the first half, punctuated by Scottie Wilbekin's jumper at the buzzer.

Despite getting into the bonus early, the Gators made just 2 of 7 free throws in the first half, but Donovan's team had just two turnovers on the way to a 29-20 halftime lead.

"They were tough," Del Piero. "They would have people come in one after another. That will really wear you down at the end."

The Gators expanded their lead in cutthroat fashion to open the second half, scoring 12 of the half's first 15 to go up 41-25. Boynton made two 3-pointers and scored eight in the first five minutes.

"We understood what shots to take and what not to take," Boynton said. "In the second half we shut them out, saw what was open and what wasn't, and did a great job at adjusting."

LSU created opportune looks at the basket all game but shot 32.3 percent. With 13 minutes left, the Tigers were shooting 25 percent.

"We are just going to put this game behind us," said Hickey, who led the Tigers with 15 points. "We were in a war and just couldn't capture the win. We've got a lot of fights left."

LSU (9-4, 0-2) has lost four of its past seven.

No. 11 Florida Gators beat LSU Tigers 74-52 01/12/13 [Last modified: Saturday, January 12, 2013 10:55pm]

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