Men's College Basketball
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           === Gators seek to clip Falcons in Orange Bowl Classic ===
 
 Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - The 14th-ranked Florida Gators make the short
 trip to Sunrise on Saturday to take on the Air Force Falcons as part of the
 Orange Bowl Classic from the BB&T Center.
 
 Billy Donovan's Gators opened the season strong with seven straight wins, but
 have returned to Earth with losses in two of their last three games, falling
 at Arizona (65-64) and most recently, against Kansas State (67-61) in Kansas
 City.
 
 Dave Pilipovich's first full season at the helm at Air Force has begun with
 wins in eight of the Falcons' first 10 games. Air Force has won two straight
 games coming into this contest, topping Arkansas Pine-Bluff (65-49) and UC
 Riverside (61-53).
 
 This is just the second meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
 Florida won the only previous encounter, a 74-68 decision in 1963.
 
 A strong defensive effort that limited the hometown Highlanders to just 36.0
 percent shooting proved to be the difference for Air Force last weekend. In
 addition, the Falcons forced 19 turnovers, scoring 19 points off those
 miscues. Michael Lyons led the way at the offensive end, pouring in 22 points,
 on 8-of-16 shooting. Kyle Green added 11 points off the bench, while Taylor
 Broekhuis chipped in with 10.
 
 The Falcons have been much more productive in terms of scoring than they have
 showed of late. On the year, Air Force is averaging a solid 76.9 ppg and have
 done so on a healthy .492 shooting overall. Lyons is the undeniable leader,
 averaging an impressive 20.5 ppg this year, while also pacing the team in
 rebounding (5.3 rpg). Broekhuis is a distant second in the scoring column at
 11.2 ppg, but is connecting on just under 60 percent of his shots (.597). Todd
 Fletcher has also been efficient, draining 56.9 percent from the floor, while
 netting 10.2 ppg.
 
 Unlike Air Force, Florida is fueled by its stifling defensive play. The Gators
 rank third in the nation in scoring defense at a mere 51.3 ppg, holding foes
 to a meager .359 shooting (13th nationally), while holding a +8.7 rebounding
 margin. In addition, UF is averaging 7.3 steals per game, while forcing just
 under 17 turnovers (16.7). The team also enjoys a +20.9 scoring margin, good
 for seventh nationally. While the Gators lack a prolific scorer like Lyons,
 there is scoring depth available, as four of the five starters are averaging
 double figures. Kenny Boynton leads the way at 12.4 ppg. Fellow guard Mike
 Rosario is a close second at 12.1 ppg, while forward Erik Murphy and center
 Patric Young provide balance up front with 11.2 and 10.9 ppg, respectively.
 
 Young recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn't
 enough, as Florida dropped a six-point decision to Kansas State at the Sprint
 Center last weekend. Boynton and Scottie Wilbekin added 11 points apiece, but
 Florida shot just .404 from the floor, including just 5-of-19 from 3-point
 range (.263). UF was outscored at the free-throw line, 20-10.
 
 
 
 
 12/29 10:53:32 ET

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