Gators' defense looks to rebound

Florida Gators guard Michael Frazier II motions to the team to huddle next to Florida Gators guard Kenny Boynton.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 12:35 a.m.

Florida is heading into its matchup with Air Force in the Orange Bowl Classic this afternoon looking to get back on track defensively.



Who: No. 14 Florida (8-2) vs. Air Force (8-2)
When: 4:30 p.m.
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise
On TV: Sun Sports
Radio: AM-850

The Gators have lost two of three after a 7-0 start. A big reason? Florida was unable to get key stops down the stretch against Arizona and late in the first half against Kansas State.

Florida dropped to No. 14 in this week's AP poll after giving up a season-high 67 points in its 67-61 loss to Kansas State last Saturday. The Gators also gave up a season-high 33 points in the first half.

“On the defensive end, we should have gotten after it a lot more, because they had a lot of open looks,” Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton said.

Air Force should present another challenge to UF's defense. With five senior starters, the perimeter-oriented Falcons rank seventh in the nation in 3-pointers made (9.1 per game), 15th in the nation in field goal percentage (49.2 percent) and 28th in the country in assists (16.5 assists per game).

Florida coach Billy Donovan has some familiarity with Air Force's personnel. Last June, while coaching the U.S. 18-under national team, Donovan invited Air Force to scrimmage against the 18-under players during tryouts in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Defending the 3-point line will be a priority, considering Florida allowed Kansas State to shoot 41.2 percent (7-of-17) from beyond the arc.

“We were just late on things, in particular our guards getting around and over screens,” Donovan said.

Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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