First it was Jalen Hudson splashing a three-pointer, then 90 seconds later, it was Egor Koulechov sinking his own.
A barrage of early three-pointers set the tone for the Gators as they made 13 on 18 attempts in the first half in a win over Stanford, 108-87, in the Phil Knight Invitational on Thursday night.
Nearly nine minutes into the first half, the Gators swung the ball around the perimeter and into the hands of Egor Koulechov.
Koulechov and Hudson were efficient from beyond the arc, with Koulechov going 5-of-5 and Hudson shooting 4-of-7. They led the team to a season-high 68.2 three-point percentage, making 15 for the second time this season.
“We’re dangerous when we spread it out,” UF assistant coach Dusty May said. “We’re knocking down the shots because we’re in good rhythm and we’re creating offense for our teammates.”
When they weren’t hitting three pointers, the Gators took the ball inside the paint, where Koulechov and Deaundrae Ballard provided another scoring option. Florida added 40 points in the paint, pressuring the Cardinal defense to guard more than just the perimeter.
Florida’s success from the field overshadowed a standout performance from Chiozza, who recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 assists. His play stretched the offense, allowing Florida to have open looks from deep range.
“He does so much for us on both sides of the basketball and obviously orchestrating, getting those guys good looks and moving the ball,” May said. “He had a phenomenal game and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do tomorrow.”
Koulechov led with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Hudson followed suit with 17 points and Okauru with 15.
UF’s ability to spread the ball showed as the Gators opened up to a 16-7 lead in the first four minutes of the game. The closest Stanford came to catching them was an 8-0 run to set the score at 22-17, but scoring spurts throughout the half put Florida up by 19 at halftime.
In the second half, the Gators eased up on the three-point shooting a bit, but still found production from inside, seeing layups and jump shots from Koulechov, Okauru, Ballard, Allen and Chase Johnson. Florida was up by as much as 38 points in the second half.
The Gators also overwhelmed the Cardinal on defense despite missing Kevarrius Hayes due to a one-game suspension. They caused 18 turnovers and stole the ball 13 times, creating opportunities on the fast-break offense.
Florida will play the winner of Ohio State-Gonzaga on Saturday at 11 p.m. in the next round of the tournament.
A radio broadcast contributed to this article.
You can follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.