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November 3, 2011Tweet Follow @InsideTheGatorsPlease feel free to share this Inside the Gators feature with your friends
As time expired on the first half of Florida's exhibition game Thursday night, the home crowd groaned as freshman Brad Beal missed a 3-pointer from the right wing.
It was supposed to go in.
The miss broke a streak of eight straight made 3-point attempts in a half in which UF went 14-of-24 from beyond the arc on its way to scoring 70 points by the break. No. 8 Florida would finish 20-of-40 from 3-point range and go on to handle Catholic University 114-57.
"I can honestly say, I don't know if we took one bad 3-point shot in the first half," UF coach Billy Donovan said.
The Gators got four threes before halftime from Beal, who finished with 20 points and five assists on 8-of-11 shooting in his first college game.
And Mike Rosario, the junior transfer from Rutgers, scored 18 and dished out six assists while connecting on four 3s of his own in his Florida debut.
Donovan expects his two new prolific scoring guards to take some of the pressure off of returning guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton this season.
"I don't think there's any question that they're going to release some pressure from those guys," Donovan said. "Those two guys are warriors. They've played a lot of minutes. There's been a lot on their shoulders, and I have the utmost respect for those two guys."
That's not to say the two veterans disappeared on Thursday night.
Boynton led all scorers with 21 points and hit on a game-high six 3-pointers while dishing out a game-high 10 assists. And Walker chipped in 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including three makes from downtown while shouldering most of the ball-handling responsibilities.
Rosario and Beal both spoke to how easy it is to play off the ball with Walker and Boynton, who took the ball up the court when Walker went to the bench, setting up their teammates for easy baskets.
"I love playing off the ball and I love the role that I have to play because it takes a lot of pressure off of me because I'm surrounded by a lot of good players now," said Rosario, who averaged over 16 points per game over two seasons at Rutgers.
UF's quartet of highly-touted guards stole the show from the outside, but the Gators big men also got involved in the win.
Center Patric Young and forward Erik Murphy started the game alongside Walker, Boynton and Beal and scored 10 and 17 points, respectively. Murphy even stepped out to go 3-of-4 from 3-point range, adding to the long-range barrage.
Sophomore forward Will Yeguete dropped in 9 points on three shots from the field, helping to provide an inside presence for the guard-heavy team.
The Cardinals did keep pace with the Gators on the boards, however, as UF only outrebounded CU 36-31 and gave up nine offensive rebounds, an area of concern for Donovan.
"We need to rebound the ball because we're so explosive offensively," Donovan said. "It's so hard when we're coming down the floor to match up with us. We eliminate a huge strength of our team in broken-floor situations if we get dominated on the glass and we have to constantly inbound the ball."
Donovan wants his team to play the fast-paced up-and-down game it displayed against CU this season, using a full-court press to generate turnovers.
Florida got 16 steals Catholic, turning those into 50 points off of turnovers and 20 on the fast break.
It was an electrifying first showing by the Gators, but this exhibition game and next week's regular-season opener against Jackson State are just warmups for Florida's Nov. 15 showdown with No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus.
"We cant be too excited with this one, we have Ohio State coming up and that will be our big test," Boynton said.
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