Notebook: Boynton starts SEC play with a bang


Published: Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 6:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 6:12 p.m.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After a positive shoot-around Friday and a pregame talk with his coach, Florida freshman guard Kenny Boynton felt confident heading into his Southeastern Conference debut at Vanderbilt.

Boynton scored a career-best 28 points, but it was little consolation following a 95-87 loss to Vanderbilt. It was the most points for a Florida freshman since Matt Walsh scored 29 points against Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 28, 2002.

Boynton, a jump shooter, said Florida coach Billy Donovan noticed on film that he had been shooting the ball on the way down instead of at his highest point.

"I started elevating on my shot, at the shoot-around (Friday) night and it was falling," Boynton said.

Boynton made his first two shots on Saturday afternoon and finished 6-for-14 from 3-point range. His most impressive 3-pointer, a 23-footer from beyond the top of the key, came with Vanderbilt point guard Jermaine Beal's hand in his face.

"I was pretty impressed with him," Beal said. "He came out pretty hot, he made his first couple of shots and then it was hard to guard him the rest of the game."

Like the rest of the Gators, Boynton came into Saturday's game against Vanderbilt in a prolonged shooting slump. Boynton came into Saturday shooting 25.5 percent from 3-point range and was just 10 for his previous 35 from beyond the arc.

"Hopefully this is something that will give him some confidence," Donovan said.

Whistle-happy?

Florida's SEC opener had more of a non-conference feel to it. In a league known for allowing contact, the officiating crew of Bruce Benedict, Mark Whitehead and Joe Lindsay called a combined 43 fouls on both teams.

Florida was whistled for 26 fouls while Vanderbilt was whistled for 17 fouls. During a media timeout late in the second half, Vanderbilt fans booed the refs after center A.J. Ogilvy was whistled for a questionable foul against Florida forward Chandler Parsons.

"That's just SEC play," Beal said. "The refs can call it tight, they can call it loose. Our fans just were having fun with the refs, that's all."

Florida point guard Erving Walker received the benefit of the doubt on some calls late in the half by drawing contact in the lane.

"We just tried toward the end of the game to go to the hole and get fouled," Walker said. "We were in the bonus so we wanted to keep fighting."

Etc.

Florida's last SEC opening loss was on Jan. 7, 2001, at South Carolina. The Gators lost 69-68 to the Gamecocks but went on to finish tied for first in the SEC with a 12-4 record. ... Chicago Bears quarterback and Vanderbilt alum Jay Cutler was among the 13,327 at Memorial Gym.

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