FLORIDA BASKETBALL

Gators set for Catholic tonight


Florida Gators players Patric Young (from left) and Will Yeguete celebrate after beating the BYU Cougars in overtime of their NCAA tournament regional semifinal game at the New Orleans Arena on Thursday, March 24, 2011. The Gators defeated BYU 84-73 to advance to the elite eight.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 10:35 p.m.

It will be about more than the father facing the son when Florida plays Catholic University in its lone exhibition game tonight at the O'Connell Center.

Facts

Who: No. 8 Florida Gators vs. Catholic University
When: Tonight, 7
Where: O'Connell Center
Gainesville TV: GatorVision Online
Gainesville radio: AM-850

FLORIDA PROBABLE STARTERS

G Kenny Boynton 6-2 Jr. 14.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg
G Erving Walker 5-8 Sr. 14.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
G Bradley Beal 6-3 Fr. 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg
F Erik Murphy 6-10 Jr. 4.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg
C Patric Young 6-9 So. 3.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg

CATHOLIC PROBABLE STARTERS

G Andy Roell 6-4 Sr. 4.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg
G Shawn Holmes 5-11 Jr. 7.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg
G Nate Koenig 6-4 Jr. 2.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg
F Pete Schramm 6-8 So. 4.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg
F Chris Kearney 6-7 Jr. 7.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg

Notes:Florida is 34-2-1 in exhibition games under Billy Donovan. The Gators have won 20 straight exhibition games. ... Florida returns a pair of 1,000-point scorers in Walker and Boynton. Walker ranks 24th in UF history with 1,330 career points, while Boynton is tied for 47th in school history with 1,001 points. ... Florida, which shot 35.2 percent from 3-point range last season, will add a pair of strong perimeter shooters in Beal and Rosario. ... Catholic University, a Washington D.C.-based Division III school coached by Steve Howes, had a rebounding margin of plus-8 last season. ... Florida coach Billy Donovan's son, Billy, averaged 1.4 points in 19 games for Catholic as a freshman.

— Kevin Brockway

Florida coach Billy Donovan's son, Billy, is a sophomore shooting guard at Catholic. Billy Donovan isn't listed in the starting lineup, but the 6-foot-2 former St. Francis High standout is expected to get time off the bench.

The game will be Florida's final tuneup before its season opener Nov. 11 against Jackson State.

"There is a different feeling when you put a uniform on and you are under the lights and there is a crowd there," Donovan said.

Freshman McDonald's All-American guard Bradley Beal will start in a three-guard lineup with Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton. Erik Murphy will start at power forward, and Patric Young will start at center.

Donovan said Beal earned the starting job based on his talent and ability to pick up the offense. The 6-foot-3 guard from St. Louis is just the fifth freshman to start an exhibition game since 2004, joining Boynton (2009), Nick Calathes (2007), Jai Lucas (2007) and Corey Brewer (2004).

"He's a guy that's absorbed everything pretty well," Donovan said. "I think he's more advanced than most freshmen in terms of being able to retain and understand what we're trying to get done. I think coupled with the fact that obviously he's a talented and gifted player, but he's really been unfazed, so to speak, by what he's gone through."

Rutgers transfer combo guard Mike Rosario will come off the bench for the Gators. Rosario, who started at Rutgers, was ninth in the Big East in scoring (16.7 ppg) his sophomore year.

"He has started a lot," Donovan said. "I think the biggest thing for Mike is being more and more consistent every single day. Because he's not in the starting lineup (against Catholic), that doesn't mean it's gonna hold true for the first game. That all could change based on who we are playing against, based how practice goes, injuries."

On the injury front, Donovan said sophomore guard Scottie Wilbekin suffered a broken finger in practice. Donovan said he plans to hold Wilbekin out for the Catholic game, but doesn't expect the injury to sideline him for the season opener against Jackson State. Wilbekin already is back to taking part in limited drills in practice.

"He's healing fine," Donovan said. "It's his index finger. It's on his knuckle and it doesn't require surgery."

Donovan confirmed that Florida held a "secret" scrimmage Sunday against UCF. He pointed out Beal, Walker and sophomore forward Will Yeguete as those who played well.

"(Yeguete) continues to do things defensively and rebounding the ball," Donovan said.

While Donovan was pleased with his team's unselfishness against UCF, he was concerned about turnovers (Florida scored 79 points with 21 turnovers) and rebounding. Florida won both halves of the scrimmage, but lost the rebounding margin by eight to the Knights.

"With this team, the ability to defend and rebound (will be important)," Donovan said. "We can be an explosive scoring team."

FREE THROWS: Florida has added two walk-ons to the roster, sopohmore Jacob Kurtz and freshman Lex Edwards. Kurtz is a 6-foot-4 guard from Oviedo, and Edwards is a 6-2 freshman from Orlando.

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