By Kevin Sweeney
Canyon Berry contributed 16 points off the bench, and Florida held off multiple St. Bonaventure runs to capture an important 73-66 win Thursday night in a game played in Lakeland, Florida.
The game followed a “call and response” pattern throughout, as it seemed as though every time Florida took control, the Bonnies responded with a run of their own.
A Berry layup capped an 14-3 run by the Gators to take an early 10-point advantage. However, St. Bonaventure got right back into it, riding their outstanding guard duo of Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams. The Florida lead was trimmed to 3 late in the opening period, but a late triple by Florida’s Justin Leon stretched the Gators’ lead to 6 before halftime.
Florida jumped out of the gate strong to open the second half, riding a 7-0 run in the first 2 minutes led by a pair of KeVaughn Allen 3’s to take a 13-point lead and trigger a St. Bonaventure timeout. However, a 13-4 run by the Bonnies over the next 5 minutes put them right back in it. The tides turned quickly, with an 11-0 Gators run seemingly putting the game away. The Bonnies were far from finished though, with Mobley and Adams putting on a show from downtown that helped them cut the deficit to just one with 2:42 to play in the game.
A 3-point play by Mobley with 1:36 to go tied the game at 66. However, a Bonaventure missed shot was rebounded by Berry, who was fouled while grabbing the rebound. He calmly stepped to the line, and using his unorthodox underhand form, drained both shots.
“You just trust what you’re doing, you trust your form”, Berry said postgame, per Kevin Brockway/Twitter.
A missed 3 and turnover by the Bonnies on subsequent possessions led to dunks by the Gators, sealing the game.
Mobley and Adams combined for 48 of the Bonnies’ 66 points. St. Bonaventure looks talented, but if someone can fill the third scorer role, they will be as good as anyone in the A-10. Meanwhile, the Gators can take pride in winning a game over a Strong opponent despite clearly not playing their best.
Florida will look to continue their strong start to the season Monday in Tampa against Belmont. St. Bonaventure will take the floor next in a Monday night showdown at Little Rock.