The Florida Gators advanced the SEC Tournament semifinals with ease thanks to an 80-58 win over the LSU Tigers on Friday. The Gators will face the Alabama Crimson Tide at 1:00 PM on Saturday thanks to the Tide’s 58-48 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers.
The Gators were running on all cylinders against the Tigers and showed little desire to take their foot off the pedal. Senior forward Erik Murphy had a career game and Florida shot well from the field. Add to that a defensive performance to hang your hat on and it was an easy victory for the orange and blue.
There was one Gator that would have wanted to contribute more to the team’s cause though. Senior guard Kenny Boynton has been caught in the middle of a shooting slump of epic proportions. Boynton has shot 37.6% from the field and 29.4% from behind the arc during his senior season–both career lows. The senior hasn’t reached 20 points in a game since January 2 and hasn’t shot better than 45.5% since January 26. To make matters worse, Boynton has only shot better than 37.5% once in his last seven games.
Kenny Boynton is a phenomenal player and will go down as one of the best to ever wear a Gators uniform, but we’re all sure this isn’t how he wants it to end. If the wins keep coming, the statistics don’t matter, but he surely wants to contribute on the offensive end. While his last performance against the Tide wasn’t a stellar one, it was solid enough to warrant a desire to repeat it. Boynton went 3-for-8 from the floor, 6-for-7 from the free-throw line, scored 13 total points, and had three assists to zero turnovers. If Boynton can do that again on Saturday, he’ll erase his 1-for-7 performance against LSU.
Head coach Billy Donovan has turned up the intensity on his team. Practices have been harder and Donovan has pushed his team to play to the talent he knows it possesses. It worked on Friday and should again on Saturday. With each SEC Tournament win, the Gators gain momentum for the start of the NCAA Tournament. Another big game is needed against Bama.