GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Billy Donovan’s son has seen hundreds of games in the O’Connell Center. Preseason, regular season, postseason.
He’s never witnessed anything like this.
No. 8 Florida made 20 of 40 shots from 3-point range, beating Catholic University and the younger Donovan 114-57 in an exhibition game Thursday night.
“This is probably the best I’ve ever seen one of my dad’s teams shoot,” the younger Donovan said.
Kenny Boynton had 21 points and 10 assists, highly touted freshman Bradley Beal added 20 points and the Gators showed why coach Billy Donovan is so excited about this season.
Mike Rosario, a Rutgers transfer who sat out last season, added 18 points off the bench for the Gators. Erik Murphy (17), Erving Walker (15) and Patric Young (10) also scored in double figures.
The Gators did most of their damage from 3-point range, showing they’re going to be a much better shooting team with Beal and Rosario in the mix. Florida scored 70 points in the first half and made their final six 3-pointers.
“I think we’re explosive offensively, and certainly we got it going in the first half there,” the elder Donovan said.
The younger Donovan led the Division III Cardinals with 13 points. His mother, Christine Donovan, wore a Catholic T-shirt while sitting behind Florida’s bench.
“It was a little weird at first, but as soon as Patric Young boxes you out and Casey Prather dunks on you, it definitely opens up your eyes a little bit,” the younger Donovan said.
The younger Donovan got a warm reception during pregame introductions and a standing ovation when he left the game with 32 seconds remaining.
“That was really special,” he said. “I pretty much grew up here. It’s all I remember. It’s some of the greatest fans I’ve seen. Hearing that was really special.”
Dad gave him a huge hug after the game.
“Really, really proud of Billy,” Catholic coach Steve Howes said. “Lot of pressure on him tonight. Special moment. He earned the start, no doubt about it. He played very well. He’s going to be a real key piece for us this year. He was a valuable reserve last year behind our best player. We always told him, next three years you’ve got a chance to really do something. He showed it tonight.”
The Gators showed something, too.
Boynton was 6 of 11 from behind the arc. Beal and Rosario each finished 4 of 7, Walker was 3 of 4 and Murphy was 3 of 4.
Donovan’s last two teams were the worst in his 16-year tenure. This one could be the best. What stood out most to the coach was the ball movement. Florida had 31 assists on 40 baskets.
“Making 20 of 40 standing by yourself is pretty good,” coach Billy Donovan said.
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