TAMPA, Fla. -- Freshman Bradley Beal scored a career-high 22 points Monday night, leading Florida (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) to a 78-65 victory over Wright State.
Kenny Boynton had 22 points and Mike Rosario came off the bench to add 11 for the Gators (3-1), who led by double digits for much of the night but never fully closed the door on the persistent Raiders (2-2) until the end.
Julius Mays led Wright State with a career-best 21 points, including a 3-pointer that trimmed Florida's lead to nine with 5 minutes to go. John Balwigaire had 15 points and freshman Reggie Arceneaux finished with 13.
The Gators slipped to No. 10 in the rankings following a week in which they lost 81-74 at No. 3 Ohio State, which trounced Wright State 73-24 in the Raiders' season opener.
Florida trailed just once in its first regular-season meeting against a member of the Horizon League, falling behind 4-3 on Johann Mpondo's jumper before Boynton made a 3-pointer and Beal followed with a dunk and long 3-pointer. Although the Gators were never seriously threatened the rest of the way, Wright State managed to hang in the game and cut its deficit to nine on two occasions after trailing 44-29 at halftime.
Boynton drained one of his six 3-pointers to restore a double-digit lead after Wright State pulled within 50-41 with 14 minutes to go. Erving Walker made two free throws and Patric Young went to the line and made one of two after the Raiders cut the lead below 10 again on Mays' long jumper that made it 66-57.
Young was poked in the eye late in the first half and spent an extended stretch on the bench with blurred vision. He returned to the game when his vision improved and finished with five points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes.