No. 10 Florida Holds Off Yale 90-70

Reggie Willhite. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Reggie Willhite. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Mangano Posts Second Straight Double-Double

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No 10 Florida is the top three-point shooting team in the nation. Yale matched the Gators from beyond the arc. It was Florida's inside and transition games that proved to be the difference.

Kenny Boynton scored 26 points and Patrick Young added 19 as the Gators held off the pesky Bulldogs 90-70 before a crowd of 9,119 at the O'Connell Center.

Yale (8-4) was 11-of-21 from three-point range, while the Gators (11-3) were 12-of-21. Florida, though outscored the Bulldogs 37-18 in the paint and had an 11-0 edge in fast break points.

"I thought we were good today, but we needed to be great," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball.

Greg Mangano had a second straight strong game against a major conference opponent, finishing with 26 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks. He had 20 points and 12 rebounds in Thursday's 72-71 loss at Wake Forest.

"These are the games we look forward to the most, outside of the league," said Mangano of playing Florida of the SEC. "It's a great opportunity to prove we're a pretty good team. I'm proud of our guys. I thought we gave a good effort for 40 minutes."

Early on, it looked like an upset might be in the making. Yale scored the first nine points of the game on three-pointers from Austin Morgan, Reggie Willhite and Mangano.

The Gators, though, answered with a 17-3 run.

"Our guys were ready to play, and we had a good start shooting," Jones said. "There was a stint when we turned it over a few times and that let them get their transition game going."

Still, Yale stayed within striking distance for most of the game. Florida's biggest lead of the first half was 14, 32-18, with 7:24 left. The Bulldogs closed it to six before a late surge gave the Gators a 46-35 halftime lead.

Yale scored the first four points of the second half and was within six, 54-48, five minutes in, but Florida took command with a 17-6 run.

Morgan was the only other Yale player to reach double figures in scoring, finishing with 10 points. Willhite added eight and Isaiah Salafia scored six. Michael Grace had four points, six assists and only one turnover in 25 minutes.

Boynton and Erik Murphy were both 5-of-7 from three-point range for the Gators, who rebounded from Thursday's double overtime loss at Rutgers.

Yale did a number of things well in the game. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Gators 37-32 and committed only 11 turnovers. Yale's bench also outscored Florida's 18-13.

"It's good for us to play games like this," Jones said. "It gives us an idea of what we need to do better as we get ready for Ivy games."

NOTES: The Gators have now made 154 three-pointers on the season, which leads the nation… Yale had assists on 19 of its 27 field goals… Freshman Matt Townsend had a solid game off the bench, contributing four points and four rebounds in 12 minutes… Florida was 16-of-23 from the foul line, while Yale was 5-of-8… The Gators improved to 7-0 at home and have now won 13 straight games at the O'Connell Center… The Bulldogs return to their home, the John J. Lee Amphitheater, for the first time in a month when they host Holy Cross on Tuesday night. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity