No. 11 Florida routs Vandy, clinches SEC title
Posted at: 03/06/2013 8:39 PM
By MARK LONG
(AP) GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Kenny Boynton scored 15 points, Pat Young added 14 and No. 11 Florida routed Vanderbilt 66-40 on Wednesday night to clinch the Southeastern Conference regular season championship.
Florida won its fourth outright league title and third under longtime coach Billy Donovan. The Gators (24-5, 14-3 SEC) were alone atop the standings in 1988-89, 2006-07 and 2010-11.
Like the others, this one earned the Gators the No. 1 seed heading into next week’s SEC tournament. It also capped a perfect season (15-0) at home and sent seniors Boynton, Erik Murphy and Mike Rosario out with a victory on "Senior Night."
After the win, the Gators started cutting down the nets.
Kendren Johnson had 15 points for the Commodores (13-16, 7-10), including 13 straight at one point.
Boynton, Murphy and Rosario were honored before the game, each walking out with family members and getting a framed jersey from Donovan.
The tribute and having so many friends and family members on hand may have been a little overwhelming since all of them started slowly.
Boynton missed four of his first five shots. Murphy missed his first two. Rosario was off on three of his first five.
They settled down after halftime and got the Gators going _ especially from 3-point range.
After Vanderbilt cut a double-digit lead to seven, Florida went on a 25-8 run that turned a tight game into a lopsided affair. Michael Frazier II started the spurt with his first of two 3s. Murphy and Boynton also drained shots from behind the arc, putting the Gators up 43-30.
Things got a little testy from there.
Vanderbilt’s Sheldon Jeter got called for a charge and was given a technical foul for arguing with the officials. Boynton hit both free throws on the other end, and then the Commodores were given a bench warning for more comments.
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stalling clearly wasn’t pleased. He was equally upset with what appeared to be a no call on Will Yeguete’s pass to himself that led to Frazier’s first 3.
Nonetheless, there was little Vanderbilt could do to slow down Florida.
The Gators have been the class of the conference all season, winning 14 SEC games by double digits.
Boynton, Murphy and Rosario have been major contributors to the team’s success. Donovan recognized them again with 2:18 remaining when he called time out and took them out of the game.
The ending was much better than the start for Florida.
The Gators led 24-14 at halftime, and the first 20 minutes was as ugly as the score indicated.
Vanderbilt shot 22.7 percent from the field, including 1 for 10 from 3-point range, and had just one assist and six turnovers.
The Gators weren’t a whole lot better.
Florida shot 43.5 percent, but had five assists and four turnovers. That came on the heels of Donovan saying his team can compete with anyone in the country if guys move the basketball and get at least 17 assists a game.
The Gators finished with 13.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)