The Florida Gators lost their second game of the season on Friday night, falling 72-68 to the Syracuse Orange in the Big East/SEC Challenge. Florida's offense was stifled by 'Cuse's 2-3 zone, which coach Jim Boeheim has famously relied on for decades. Gator guards Erving Walker (in the first half) and Kenny Boynton (in the second half) carried Florida's offense throughout, but quiet nights from freshman phenom Brad Beal and Patric Young did not give the Gators enough firepower on the offensive end.
Walker kept Florida in it in the first half, hitting three three pointers in the first twenty minutes. He finished with 14 points. Kenny Boynton had a relatively quiet first half, but really got hot in the second half, finishing with 22 points and hitting four three pointers for the underdog Gators. Beal finished with double digit rebounds for the second game in the row, but the freshman was held to just seven points and missed all 5 shots from downtown. The Gators, who were without Erik Murphy, turned the ball over 20 times, which led to a ton of easy transition buckets. Fourteen of those turnovers were committed by Florida's guards, as Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine took control of the game for the 72-68 win.
It doesn't get a whole lot easier for Billy Donovan and the Gators, as another BCS conference and historical hoops powerhouse awaits. Sean Miller and his Arizona Wildcats are up next, visiting the O'Connell Center on Wednesday.