Senior guard KeVaughn Allen helped Florida erase the memory of a rough season opener.
Behind a team-high 14 points and five steals from Allen, the Gators pulled away to pick up their first win of the season, beating Charleston Southern 76-46 in their home opener at the O’Connell Center.
Sophomore guard Deaundrae Ballard added 12 points off the bench for the Gators, while senior guard Jalen Hudson had 10 points.
Florida (1-1) bounced back from an 81-60 loss on Tuesday at No. 17 Florida State. The loss was Florida’s first in a season opener since 1990.
Coming off the FSU loss, Florida coach Mike White wanted to see more intensity on defense and better shot selection. The Gators displayed both, despite some early shooting struggles. Florida had 12 steals while holding Charleston Southern to 25.9 percent shooting from the floor.
Allen, a preseason second team All-SEC selection, scored Florida’s first six points and 11 points in the first half after being held scoreless earlier in the week against FSU.
Florida led 36-20 at halftime despite shooting just 45.1 percent from the field and 16.6 percent from 3-point range in the first half.
The Gators took control with a 12-0 run to start the second half, holding Charleston Southern scoreless for the first 7:13 of the second half. Allen started the run with a 3-pointer, then Hudson was fouled on a 3-point attempt, and made all three free throws to put the Gators up 42-20. After Hudson and freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard combined to make four more free throws, sophomore guard Mike Okauru hit a driving layup to extend Florida’s lead to 48-20.
From there, Florida led by as many as 36 points as White used all 12 of his scholarship players.
Junior guard Christian Keeling led Charleston Southern (1-1) with 18 points. Freshman guard Dontrell Shuler added 11 points for the Buccaneers.
—Field Level Media