TAMPA — In an effort to improve his overall shooting this season, Florida junior guard Kenny Boynton has spent an unusual amount of his own time in the gym. Before the Gators left Gainesville for Tampa on Monday, he was working on his shot.
But when pregame shootaround time came at the St. Pete Times Forum, Boynton was clearly off in the arena where the depth perception is a bit different.
"I told myself before the game I hope some luck comes my way because I didn't have a good shootaround," Boynton said. "But then I kind of got on when I hit the first three in the game."
And it kept rolling from there. Boynton scored 22 on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range, and freshman guard Bradley Beal added 22 to lead No. 9 Florida (3-1) to a 78-65 victory over Wright State (2-2) in front of 6,331 Monday night.
"I kind of got on a roll and they kept giving me open looks," Boynton said.
Florida led 44-29 at halftime, shooting 15-of-32 from the field and 8-of-16 from 3-point range. But Wright State put together an early 7-0 run in the second half to pull within 50-41, which Florida coach Billy Donovan attributed to the Gators being "too predictable" on offense.
"We had some pretty good movement in the first half, but we didn't move well enough in the second half, we were very easy to guard," Donovan said. "Our spacing was okay, I thought the ball was being held onto too long, we were driving the ball into areas that were not open. We got too stagnant, I thought, and we've got to get better at that."
The Gators were without sophomore center Patric Young for just more than 10 minutes after Young was struck in the eye with 49 seconds left in the first half. He returned with 10:54 remaining in the game. Donovan said Young (five points, seven rebounds) was cleared by the medical staff at halftime but was not allowed to return until his blurred vision was restored.
With Young out, the Gators once again went to the four-guard lineup, something Donovan says continues to be a work in progress — along with the Gators' overall cohesiveness.
"I think there's a lot of room for improvement," he said, acknowledging that it's only four games into the season.
Antonya English can be reached at email@example.com.