UF coach Donovan bests son

Florida head coach Billy Donovan hugs his son, Catholic guard Billy Donovan, after the game on Thursday. Florida defeated Catholic 114-57.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:41 p.m.

The matchup began with a nice storyline, with Florida coach Billy Donovan coaching against his son for the first time in his career.

It ended with a barrage of Florida 3-pointers in a dominant 114-57 exhibition game win against Division III Catholic University at the O'Connell Center.

Florida went 20-for-40 from 3-point range, making deep shots from all areas of the floor. Kenny Boynton led six Florida players in double figures with 21 points, with freshman Bradley Beal adding 20 points in his Florida debut.

“I've been waiting for this for a long time,” said Beal, who went 8-for-11 from the floor and 4-of-7 from 3-point range before fouling out with 7:10 left. “The nerves were kicking in at first, but once the game started and everything was going well, I had fun and relaxed.”

Sophomore guard Billy Donovan, UF coach Billy Donovan's oldest son, led Catholic with 13 points. The younger Donovan, a late insert into Catholic's starting lineup, received a nice ovation from the crowd during pregame introductions. His mom, Christine Donovan, wore a Catholic University jersey in the stands.

“This is probably the best I've ever seen my dad's team shoot,” the younger Donovan said.

The younger Donovan, a former all-area standout at St. Francis High in Gainesville who watched countless Florida games growing up, said it was strange sitting on the opposing bench and stepping out on the floor.

“It was a little weird at first, but as soon as Patric Young boxes you out, Casey Prather dunks on you, it opens your eyes a little bit,” he said.

Florida, meanwhile, couldn't miss. The Gators made six straight 3-point attempts to close the first half, building a 70-29 halftime lead. For perspective, Florida's record for 3-pointers in a game is 18 against Robert Morris in 1996. This won't count in the record books because it was a preseason game.

The Gators finished with 31 assists on 40 baskets.

“I can honestly say I don't know if we took one bad 3-point shot in the first half,” Donovan said. “There were a few bad ones in the second half, but in the first half for the most part with the way the ball was being moved around, we were getting good looks. I thought we made some adjustments in the press. We were disruptive. We did a lot of good things.”

On the 3-point shooting, Donovan said, “Making 20-for-40 standing by yourself is pretty good.”

Boynton had a double-double with 10 assists. Mike Rosario added 18 points and 6 assists off the bench. Erik Murphy had 17 points, Erving Walker had 15 points and 4 assists and Patric Young had 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Donovan's lone concern following the game was rebounding. Florida outrebounded Catholic 36-31, but gave up nine offensive rebounds. The Gators made up for that on the defensive end with 16 steals.

After the game, Donovan gave his son and embrace and whispered in his ear.

“I was really, really proud of him,” Donovan said. “I thought he played aggressive. I think it was a hard situation for him to walk into. I did not know what to expect. The thing I was most pleased about was that he was not overwhelmed by the situation. I think he just tried to do what the coaches and his team asked him to do.”

FREE THROWS: Florida sophomore guard Scottie Wilbekin (broken finger) took part in warmups but was held out of the game. ... Donovan said he still hasn't made a decision on whether Jacob Kurtz and Lex Edwards will join the team as walkons. Both are practicing with the team but weren't in uniform Thursday night. He said he will decide on their status before the season opener Nov. 11 vs. Jackson State. Former Gator center Joakim Noah was among the announced 7,870 in attendance.

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