NCAA BK

Savannah State fails to rally, falls at Florida

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP)

Savannah State couldn't rally in this one.

Two days after overcoming an 18-point deficit and nearly upsetting UCF, the Tigers got behind early and never recovered in a 58-40 loss at No. 7 Florida on Tuesday.

Rashad Hassan and Cedric Smith scored 11 points apiece, and Arnold Louis nearly had a double-double, but it was far from enough against the Gators.

The Tigers (3-3) missed 12 of their first 13 shots and were down 20 points (24-4) with 3:36 remaining in the first half.

''Our guys kind of came out timid early, couldn't make shots,'' coach Horace Broadnax said. ''We played a good defensive game, but you have to put the ball in the basket.''

Savannah State made a small run, cutting the lead to 28-14 at halftime, but the Gators (4-0) pulled away after the break.

''We started to have some slippage there and we picked it up after that,'' Florida center Patric Young said.

Young finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high six blocks.

''Patric felt like after the first three games that he should be playing at a higher level,'' Gators coach Billy Donovan said. ''He came out really focused tonight. ... When he plays really hard with great passion and great energy, there's no way that he should not score 15 to 20 points and he should not grab between 11 and 15 rebounds every game. He was right there.''

Mike Rosario also scored 13 points for Florida, which played the final 13-plus minutes without leading scorer Kenny Boynton.

Boynton sprained his left ankle when he landed on an opponent's foot while driving to the basket. The O'Connell Center fell almost completely silent as athletic trainers helped him off the court. Boynton went to the locker room, returned to the bench a few minutes later and then left for good with 7:47 remaining.

Donovan said Boynton could have returned and added that he likely will sit out practice Wednesday. The Gators play UCF on Friday.

Boynton's injury is the latest setback for Florida this season.

Forward Cody Larson left the team right before the season. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin was suspended for the first three games for violating team rules. Forward Casey Prather hasn't played since sustaining two concussions in camp. And Erik Murphy missed time with migraines.

''That's adversity for you,'' Young said. ''As a team, I think we've taken head on though the suspensions, the injuries, coach getting upset with us, whatever it was. We fought back, we practiced hard, we didn't complain and we're 4-0.''

Savannah State returns home to face Western Illinois on Saturday.

The Tigers nearly upset UCF two days earlier, taking a two-point lead in the final 2 minutes before fading.

They weren't even close to competitive against Florida.

The Gators scored 15 of the first 17 points despite missing 14 of their first 18 shots. Young and Will Yeguete had the only baskets. The rest of the team started 0 for 11.

Florida, though, took made the most of its size, speed and talent advantage at every position.

Young was the key.

''Patric was really alert. He played hard, he played with passion, he played with energy,'' Donovan said. ''He made kind of a commitment to himself that he was going to play well tonight.''

Tagged: Florida, UCF, Savannah State, Kenny Boynton, Patric Young

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