Wright State vs Florida

No. 10 Florida outlasts Wright State

CBSSports.com wire reports

TAMPA, Fla. -- It's early, and 10th-ranked Florida played like a team that has a lot to work on.

"I can't sit here and tell you that there was one thing that I was really, really pleased with from start to finish," coach Billy Donovan said after freshman Bradley Beal scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Gators to a 78-65 victory over Wright State on Monday night.

"I thought we were OK. I thought we showed signs. ... But in terms of how we're playing defensively, how we're playing offensively, we're kind of streaky," Donovan added. "But then again, you know, it's Nov. 21. We've played four games. I do think there's a lot of room for improvement and I think we can get better."

Kenny Boynton had 22 points and Mike Rosario came off the bench to add 11 for the Gators (3-1), who led by double digits for much of the night but never fully closed the door on the persistent Raiders (2-2) until the end.

Julius Mays led Wright State with a career-best 21 points, including a 3-pointer that trimmed Florida's lead to nine with 5 minutes to go. John Balwigaire had 15 points and freshman Reggie Arceneaux finished with 13.

"There's a lot of positives for us to take from the game, but there's also a lot of learning opportunities," Wright State coach Billy Donlon said.

"When Florida was up with under four minutes to go, they didn't settle for 3s. They drove the ball to the rim. ... We settle for 3s and didn't drive it at the rim. ... We just made young mistakes late. ... By no means am I saying we were going to rally and win it, but we had a chance to put a little more pressure on them later in the game."

The Gators slipped to No. 10 in the rankings following a week in which they lost 81-74 at No. 3 Ohio State, which trounced Wright State 73-42 in the Raiders' season opener.

Florida trailed just once in its first regular-season meeting against a member of the Horizon League, falling behind 4-3 on Johann Mpondo's jumper before Boynton made a 3-pointer and Beal followed with a dunk and long 3-pointer. Although the Gators were never seriously threatened the rest of the way, Wright State managed to stay close enough to make it interesting.

The Raiders cut their deficit to nine on two occasions after trailing 44-29 at halftime.

Donovan attributed Florida's inability to put the game away to the Gators' inexperience and a lack of awareness in certain situations on the court.

"There was too much of that, not really understanding, OK, how do we put this team away?" Donovan said. "I think there are times in the game, we're up 15 or 16 points and we self-sabotaged."

Boynton drained one of his six 3-pointers to restore a double-digit lead after Wright State pulled within 50-41 with 14 minutes to go. Erving Walker made two free throws and Patric Young went to the line and made one of two after the Raiders cut the lead below 10 again on Mays' long jumper that made it 66-57.

Young was poked in the eye late in the first half and spent an extended stretch on the bench with blurred vision. He returned to the game when his vision improved and finished with five points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

Beal, one of four underclassmen who start for Florida, eclipsed his previous personal best of 17 points against Ohio State. The 6-foot-3 guard from St. Louis was 6 of 11 from the field and 9 for 11 at the foul line.

"We tried to come out more aggressive. We were just trying to keep pressure on them, keep the up-tempo," Beal said. "The team is looking fine, but we still have a lot of work to do on the defensive end."

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.
Florida freshman Bradley Beal scores a career-high 22 points as Florida holds off pesky Wright St. (US Presswire)
Florida freshman Bradley Beal scores a career-high 22 points as Florida holds off pesky Wright St. (US Presswire)
Wright State (2-2)293665
Florida #10 (3-1) «443478
WRIGST:J. Mays 21 Pts
WRIGST:J. Mpondo 4 Reb
WRIGST:R. Arceneaux 6 Ast
FL:K. Boynton 22 Pts
FL:M. Rosario 7 Reb
FL:E. Walker 7 Ast

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Wright StateFlorida
Julius Mays
Bradley Beal
Wright State Raiders
J. Mays, G398-112-225321
R. Arceneaux, G365-113-536313
A. Battle, F351-123-44125
C. Darling, F231-40-12152
J. Mpondo, F151-20-04012
J. Balwigaire, G246-100-021415
A. Pacher, F191-23-44046
T. Sledge, F80-11-22021
V. Hall, G10-10-01000
M. Vest, GDid Not Play
S. Gossard, FDid Not Play
B. Bradley, GDid Not Play
J. Cuffee, GDid Not Play
K. Griffin, GDid Not Play
A. Pritchett, FDid Not Play
U. Thomas, GDid Not Play
Totals 23-5412-1824142465
Florida Gators
B. Beal, G366-119-1153222
K. Boynton, G337-112-422022
E. Walker, G312-94-45719
P. Young, F-C221-73-57215
E. Murphy, F212-31-25047
M. Rosario, G234-51-273311
W. Yeguete, F161-30-23042
S. Wilbekin, G90-10-01200
C. Prather, G-F60-10-00020
C. Larson, F30-00-00000
W. Pitchford, F-CDid Not Play
Totals 23-5120-3035191778
Horizon League
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Kentucky12-624-1187
Green Bay12-618-14158
Wright St.11-720-12115
Youngstown St.5-1313-21252
Clev. St.5-139-22260

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
Michigan 73 Final
Memphis 61
Tenn 67 Final
ND 58 Final
Missouri 87
ULM 63 Final
Miss St 78
NORFL 50 Final
Ohio St 85
Norfolk St 57 Final
MU 59
VANDY 64 Final
Ore St 62
California 70 Final
Georgia 46
GTOWN 63 Final
Kansas 67