EditorsNote: adds new quotes from Florida
No. 8 Florida blasts North Florida
Florida’s offense turned in a strong performance in the team’s season opener on Monday in a rout of Gardner-Webb and its attack did not slow down in the second game.
Junior guard KeVaughn Allen scored a game-high 18 points as No. 8 Florida jumped out to a big early lead and never looked back en route to a 108-68 victory over North Florida on Thursday in Gainesville, Fla.
Allen was one of six Gators to reach double figures. He made 6 of 10 from the field and also added five rebounds, and one of his more memorable plays was a thunderous dunk that brought Florida fans to their feet.
“It was really good execution on that play,” Florida coach Mike White joked on the team’s radio broadcast. “In the open floor, he’s very difficult to stay in front of.”
Florida (2-0) has been an offensive machine during the season’s first two games. The Gators have scored more than 100 points in each contest, averaging 112.
Florida began playing basketball in 1915, and this is the first time the Gators have posted back-to-back 100-point games at the beginning of a season.
In fact, it’s the first time that Florida has scored 100 in two straight games in any season since December, 2003.
“I think we really have a high skill level (now),” Florida coach White said. “I think we have a high level of unselfishness right now. I like where we’re at right now.”
The Gators played a solid game on defense, limiting North Florida (0-4) to just 7 of 29 on 3-pointers. Sophomore forward Keith Stone said that White had pushed the Gators to be tougher defensively.
“We all wanted to lock in and play better defense,” Stone said on the team’s radio broadcast. “Defense is what we should hang our hats on.”
Florida also held a 48-29 edge over the Ospreys in rebounds, another reason the Gators found so many offensive chances.
Guard Egor Koulechov, a graduate transfer from Rice, had a second straight big game for the Gators. He scored 34 points in the season opener Monday and came through with 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists, showing his versatility once more.
White was happy that Koulechov wasn’t simply going out there looking to just score and that he did so much more.
“What I like is he let it come to him,” White said on the radio broadcast. “He was very good.”
Stone added 14 points, and three Gators pitched in with 12 apiece. Junior guard Jalen Hudson, freshman guard Deaundrae Ballard and sophomore center Gorjok Gak all scored a dozen.
“We already know that we can really score,” Hudson said. “I think we can go really deep in a lot of games and a lot of people can hit shots.”
Also, senior point guard Chris Chiozza helped in a number of ways. He ended up with nine points plus seven rebounds, six assists and three steals, efficiently running the Florida offense.
The Gators took charge early after the teams were tied at five a few minutes in. Florida went on a 12-0 run, thanks to three 3-pointers. Koulechov made a four-point play during this streak.
That helped the Gators roll to a 45-23 halftime lead, and Florida then blew the game open with a 63-point second half.
Freshman forward Trip Day topped North Florida with 13 points.
NOTES: Florida set a program record for most points in a season opener during the 116-74 rout of Gardner-Webb on Monday night. ... The Gators have won all seven of their games with North Florida. ... The Ospreys face a tough early-season schedule, playing their first six games on the road.