Radford vs Florida

No. 20 Gators bounce back, handle reeling Radford

CBSSports.com wire reports

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Between turnovers and missed free throws, Florida coach Billy Donovan feels as though his team is wasting scoring opportunities.

The Gators were able to overcome the errors against Radford. They probably won't be so fortunate in the Southeastern Conference.

Erving Walker scored 20 points, Kenny Boynton added 11 and No. 20 Florida beat overmatched Radford 66-55 on Wednesday night.

The Gators bounced back from a numbing home loss to Jacksonville, but probably did little to avoid falling out of the rankings for the second time this season.

"It's definitely frustrating and we're not going to win at the level we want to win at scoring 40, 50, 60 points," Chandler Parsons said. "We've just got to keep shooting the ball with confidence and just keep trying to get the best shot. Obviously we have guys that can score. We've just got to start making some shots."

Parsons finished with nine points, eight rebounds and five assists for Florida (9-3), which opened the season ranked ninth but dropped steadily after close wins over Morehead State, Florida Atlantic and Florida State. The Gators fell out of the AP poll following a three-point loss to Central Florida earlier this month.

Florida regained its ranking after upsetting then-No. 6 Kansas State last weekend, but followed that with the lackluster loss to Jacksonville on Monday. Afterward, Donovan questioned his team's ability to handle success.

Now, he's challenging them to avoid mistakes and score in the 70s. The Gators have averaged 61.7 points the last seven games.

"We need the ability to score to create a level of cushion for our team," Donovan said.

Turnovers have been the main culprit. Florida had 16 against the Highlanders (2-9) after posting 35 the previous two games.

"The turnovers are a major problem," Donovan said. "It's a major, major problem, and it's not getting corrected and it's not getting fixed. I think they're conscientious of it. I'm not sure how good of a passing and feel team we are."

Donovan benched Walker after an ill-advised alley-oop pass in the second half, and did the same a few minutes later with Will Yeguete following a behind-the-back pass in the lane.

Aside from the turnovers and 10 missed free throws, Florida had little trouble with Radford, which ranks 328th in the nation in scoring and has lost nine in a row.

The Gators scored the first nine points of the game, opened up a double-digit lead early in the second half and then started to pull away late.

Johnathan Edwards led Radford with 15 points and nine rebounds. Jareal Smith added 12 and Gorkem Sonmez had 11.

Donovan pulled his starters in the closing minutes, with his team ahead by 18, but had to put them back in when the Highlanders used an 11-3 run to slice into the lead.

"We played hard," Radford coach Brad Greenberg said. "We played a pretty good defensive game. Our zone was active. We turned the ball over too often and they were very aggressive and very successful in getting offensive rebounds. Those two areas really hurt us."

Radford shot 50 percent from the field but couldn't overcome 24 turnovers.

The game probably would have been much closer without Walker's performance. He was 6 of 9 shooting from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

"That was obviously big for us with the way he shot the ball," Donovan said.

The rest of the team was a combined 4 of 18 from behind the arc. That kind of shooting performance might not matter against Radford, but it could haunt the Gators the rest of the way - especially if they don't reduce the turnovers and make more free throws.

"We need to collectively try to be careful with the ball, treat it like it's gold and protect it," Walker said.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Erving Walker and the Gators rebound nicely after their Jacksonville loss, but it may not be enough to keep them in the Top 25. (AP)
Erving Walker and the Gators rebound nicely after their Jacksonville loss, but it may not be enough to keep them in the Top 25. (AP)
Radford (2-9)243155
Florida #20 (9-3) «313566
RADFRD:J. Edwards 15 Pts
RADFRD:J. Edwards 9 Reb
RADFRD:J. Robinson 4 Ast
FL:E. Walker 20 Pts
FL:C. Parsons 8 Reb
FL:C. Parsons 5 Ast

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Johnathan Edwards
Erving Walker
Radford Highlanders
G. Sonmez, G284-61-222311
J. Edwards, F276-113-591315
T. Cerrah, F261-40-05132
B. Smith, G231-50-03132
E. Faulkner, G181-20-02222
J. Robinson, G261-32-32414
J. Smith, G234-72-411212
M. Abele, C153-30-02036
L. Winegarner, F140-11-20011
D. Mitchell, GDid Not Play
J. Curry, FDid Not Play
T. Spagnolo, FDid Not Play
A. Dickerson, GDid Not Play
M. Doumbe, FDid Not Play
C. Smith, GDid Not Play
Totals 21-429-1626122255
Florida Gators
K. Boynton, G334-130-024211
E. Walker, G306-93-413320
C. Parsons, F283-83-68519
A. Tyus, F244-60-05208
V. Macklin, F-C192-62-56026
S. Wilbekin, G201-40-20223
E. Murphy, F152-70-04014
P. Young, F-C120-10-03130
W. Yeguete, F111-23-45035
C. Prather, G-F80-10-01000
A. Allen, FDid Not Play
K. McClanahan, GDid Not Play
M. Rosario, GDid Not Play
C. Larson, FDid Not Play
Totals 23-5711-2135171766
Big South
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
High Point9-915-16235
Char. So.7-1112-19295

TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
S. Carolina12-626-1143
Ole Miss10-822-1477
Texas A&M8-1016-1593
Miss. State6-1216-16149
Other games
WIN 52 Final
Kentucky 89
S Diego 50 Final
Baylor 83
HARV 52 Final
UConn 81
UCF 64 Final
UMass 59
AMER 46 Final
Drexel 65 Final
Syracuse 93
Texas 67 Final
Mich St 55
NOVA 76 Final
Monmth 36
Md-BC 53 Final
ND 93
Illinois 64 Final
Missouri 75
IUPUI 54 Final
Kansas 78 Final
California 63