Keyontae Johnson had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Florida withstood the ejection of forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. to hold off St. Joseph’s 70-62 on Thursday in the Charleston Classic quarterfinals at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C.
The Gators (3-2) led by 16 when Blackshear received a flagrant 2 foul and got disqualified from the game at 18:30 of the second half. The graduate transfer had grabbed a rebound and swung his right elbow, which hit Hawks forward Taylor Funk in the face.
Ryan Daly scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half to spark a rally that pulled St. Joseph’s (2-3) to within 64-60 with 1:26 remaining.
After Andrew Nembhard (16 points) missed a jumper, Daly rebounded and drove the court for a layup that made it 62-60 with 56 seconds to go.
After Florida’s Omar Payne sank two free throws with 32 seconds left, Myles Douglas turned over the ball to the Gators. Nembhard then hit two foul shots with 21 seconds left to make it 68-62.
Florida will play Miami in Friday’s tournament semifinals.
St. Joseph’s was just 3 of 23 from 3-point range and 13 of 19 from the foul line.
Blackshear, who entered as Florida’s leading scorer and rebounder, had one point and no rebounds in the first half when he was limited to three minutes due to early foul trouble.
Trailing 47-32 at 16:24 in the second half, the Hawks went on an 18-8 run to pull within five points at 8:50. Daly had nine points during the spurt.
Florida’s Noah Locke (13 points) then hit a jumper to make it 57-50 with 8:23 remaining.
Florida led by as many as 18 points en route to a 41-25 halftime advantage. The Gators shot 38.9 percent from behind the arc in the first half, when St. Joseph’s was 1 of 14 from long distance.
Nembhard and Johnson each scored 12 points, and Johnson added eight rebounds during the first 20 minutes. Blackshear picked up his second foul at 14:29 and sat the rest of the half.
The Gators scored the first eight points — two Noah Locke 3-pointers that sandwiched a layup by Scottie Lewis — in the opening 1:17.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Johnson and Locke built a 27-10 cushion 7:31 before intermission. St. Joseph’s got no closer than 13 points the rest of the half.
—Field Level Media