Gators need more from Boynton

Gators need more from Boynton

The Florida defense is one of the top units in the country, but there's still something missing from the team. It's the production from the team's best scorer. Kenny Boynton is going through one of the worst stretches in his career during the early season, well under his normal point average and shooting percentages. The added responsibility of playing point guard could be slowing him down.

Florida coach Billy Donovan knew Kenny Boynton would be playing some point guard coming into the season. When Erving Walker graduated last season after being a three-year starter at the position, Donovan wanted to lean on his veteran in Boynton. Scottie Wilbekin was still expected to start, but Boynton would take the reigns of the team when Wilbekin was on the bench.

It didn't take long. Wilbekin was suspended for undisclosed issues before the team's season opener against Georgetown, and Boynton was in the starting lineup.

With the added responsibility, his numbers are down in eight games this year. Boynton averaged 15.9 points and shot 40.2% from the field and 39.8% from behind the three-point line. This season, Boynton is averaging 13.3 points while shooting 37.6% from the field and 30.6 from behind the three-point line.

Boynton continued his shooting struggles in Florida's loss at No. 8 Arizona, going 2-for-10 from the field and 1-for-7 from behind the three-point line. Donovan thought his increased responsibilities are playing an issue.

"It was a tough shooting night for Kenny Boynton, who has had a couple tough shooting nights," Donovan said. "We've got to probably relieve him off the point. He's getting pressure, and I've got to have someone else handle the basketball and let him rest off the ball and put him back off the ball.

"Right now, the amount of minutes he's playing is really effecting his shooting right now. He's got a lot on his plate — running the team, dealing with the pressure, running the offense, pressing. There's a lot on him."

The point guard responsibilities were ramped up on Saturday night. Scottie Wilbekin fractured the ring finger on his right hand during the week of practice and played with a splint on it. Donovan wasn't sure how Wilbekin would be able to handle the ball against Arizona's defense.

That forced Boynton to play more time at point guard. He was off the floor for just five minutes of the game.

"I didn't know how well he would be handling the basketball, so we tried to play him off the ball tonight," Donovan said of Wilbekin.

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