Kevarrius Hayes continued his perfect shooting to lead the host Florida Gators to an 82-69 win over the La Salle Explorers on Wednesday night.
The Gators (2-1) won their second straight game, getting seven assists with just one turnover from their 6-5 point guard Andrew Nembhard, a freshman starter. The five-star recruit added four points.
Hayes, a 6-9 junior forward, had 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting. For the season, he is shooting 9-for-9.
Other than Hayes, Florida was led in scoring by senior Jalen Hudson (15) and freshman Keyontae Johnson (12).
La Salle fell to 0-3 in its first season under coach Ashley Howard, a former assistant coach who won two national titles under Jay Wright at Villanova.
Pookie Powell, La Salle’s senior point guard, entered the game needing eight points to reach 1,000 for his career. He finished with a game-high 21. David Beatty, a South Carolina transfer, added 13 points.
Powell, who was the Class 8A Florida High School Player of the Year when he averaged 27.8 points at Orlando Dr. Phillips, was back in his home state.
Isiah Deas, La Salle’s only other returning starter from last season’s 13-19 team, scored 10 points, although he is now being used as a reserve.
This was just the second all-time meeting between the schools, with La Salle beating Florida in 1989 on a neutral court in New Orleans.
On Wednesday, Florida surged in front, 7-5, with 17:21 left in the first half and never trailed again. The Gators extended their lead to as many as 12 points in the first half before going to the break with a 40-32 lead.
The top scorers in the first half were LaSalle’s Powell with nine points and Florida’s Hudson with eight.
As a team, Florida shot 50.0 percent in the first half, and the Gators were plus-four on rebounds and plus-three on turnovers.
Florida was never seriously challenged in the second half. For the game, Florida shot 55.6 percent from the floor, and the Gators were plus-six on turnovers.
LaSalle shot 47.2 percent.
—Field Level Media