SYRACUSE, N.Y. — With Florida's inside presence compromised by the injury loss of forward Erik Murphy, the No. 10 Gators had to rely on formidable shooting from the arc if they were going to take down No. 4 Syracuse.
Against any other team — and perhaps any other 2-3 zone — that might have been enough.
Against the size of the Orange at the perimeter, though, outsized UF struggled to knock down shots consistently, especially in the first half, and the Gators fell 72-68 on Friday.
Florida (5-2), which entered shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, was 26-for-57 (45.6 percent), including 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) from 3-point range.
"They've obviously got great length and great athleticism on the perimeter," Gators coach Billy Donovan said of Syracuse. "I thought we did a fairly decent job holding our own. They had a size advantage on every position. There wasn't one position on the floor where we had better size and better length than they did."
Kenny Boynton provided the most reliable offensive spark, scoring 22, including four 3-pointers. Erving Walker added 17 points, going 5-of-9 from behind the arc. Patric Young, who picked up four fouls, had six points and five rebounds in 25 minutes.
Brandon Triche had 20 points and Scoop Jardine 16 points and seven assists for the Orange (8-0). Neither team led by more than six points in a first half in which the score was tied six times.
For the first time this season Florida failed to make at least 11 3s in a game.
"I thought our guards in the first half were put into a bad situation because of Patric being in foul trouble and them being asked to do too much," Donovan said.
"With Erik being hurt and Patric being in foul trouble, there's not a lot of answers we have length-wise."
Boeheim sorry again
Contrite Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim apologized again after his team's victory in the wake of sex abuse charges against former longtime assistant Bennie Fine.
"I believe I misspoke very badly in my response to the allegations that have been made. I shouldn't have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives. I am really sorry that I did that, and I regret any harm that I caused," he said.
The comments echoed some of the ones he made after Tuesday's win over Eastern Michigan.
Some sex abuse victims' advocates have said Boeheim should resign or be fired after his disparaging comments about the accusers.
Fine has been accused by three men — including two former Syracuse ballboys — of molesting them as minors.
Fine, who was fired Sunday, has denied the allegations.