Mays scores 21 in Wright State's loss to Florida
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)
Wright State coach Billy Donlon could actually be somewhat upbeat even after a loss.
Freshman Bradley Beal scored a career-high 22 points Monday night, leading 10th-ranked Florida to a 78-65 victory over Wright State.
''There's a lot of positives for us to take from the game, but there's also a lot of learning opportunities,'' Donlon said.
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.
''I felt like we had a chance,'' Mays said. ''They score 18 points on out-of-bounce plays. It's almost unheard of because you scout those things. If we took half of those away, it would be a totally different game.''
John Balwigaire had 15 points and freshman Reggie Arceneaux finished with 13 for the Raiders, who were beat 73-42 by No. 3 Ohio State in Wright State's season opener.
''Our young players need to play against one of the very best programs in the country,'' Donlon said. ''I'm happy that we showed some improvement from when we played Ohio State. But we've got a long way to go before we 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.
''When Florida was up with under four minutes to go, they didn't settle for 3's,'' Donlon said. ''They drove the ball to the rim. When we were down with under four, we settle for 3's and didn't drive it at the rim. We got in the lane a lot against a very well-coached team, and at the end in the last four minutes, we just made young mistakes.''
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 hang in the game and cut its deficit to nine on two occasions after trailing 44-29 at halftime.
Boynton drained one of his six 3-pointers to restore a double-digit lead after Wright State pulled to 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.
''Mays, coming into the game, was not shooting the ball particularly well,'' Florida coach Billy Donovan said. ''But I knew with him being at N.C. (North Carolina) State, we saw him a couple years ago, that he's a good player and eventually was going to work himself through it.''
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.