No. 11 Florida beat LSU 74-52
BATON ROUGE (AP) The Florida Gators made up for a lack of manpower by dominating the boards.
Will Yeguete had 13 rebounds to lead five Gators with at least seven, and short-handed No. 11 Florida cruised to a 74-52 victory over LSU on Saturday.
"I was really, really pleased," said Florida coach Billy Donovan, who used just eight players. "We had two veteran guys out and really kind of found out relatively close to tip. I thought it was a really really good win for our guys."
Florida outrebounded LSU 53-34 but Tigers' big man Johnny O'Bryant III is still recovering from a leg injury and only played 14 minutes.
"We did a good job crashing the boards today," Yeguete said. "The big man, the 7-(foot)-3 guy (Andrew Del Piero) was tired so we just kept crashing him over and over."
Both teams struggled to find their shots early, but Florida's aggressive defensive rebounding and stingy possessions allowed them to build a 15-10 lead. The Tigers rallied with Anthony Hickey finding Del Piero slicing through the paint to lay in a tying basket.
The teams traded baskets before Florida broke a 19-all tie with a 10-1 run to end the half, punctuated by Scottie Wilbekin's jumper at the buzzer.
Despite getting into the bonus early, the Gators were just 2 of 7 from the free throw line in the first half, but Donovan's team had just two turnovers on the way to a 29-20 halftime lead.
"They were tough," Del Piero. "They would have people come in one after another. That will really wear you down at the end."
The Gators expanded their lead in cutthroat fashion to open the second half, scoring 12 of the half's first 15 points to go up 41-25. Boynton made two 3-pointers and scored eight points in the first five minutes.
"We understood what shots to take and what not to take," Boynton said. "In the second half we shut them out, saw what was open and what wasn't and did a great job at adjusting."
Florida lost Casey Prather to a high ankle sprain during the game. He had six points in just 13 minutes.
LSU created opportune looks at the basket all game, but shot 32.3 percent. With the 13 minutes to go in the second half, the Tigers were shooting a meager 25 percent.
"We are just going to put this game behind us," said Hickey, who led the Tigers with 15 points. "We were in a war today and just couldn't capture the win. We've got a lot of fights left."
LSU has lost 4 of 7 after starting the season with six-straight wins.
Updated January 12, 2013