KeVaughn Allen

Guard KeVaughn Allen led UF in scoring Friday night in its home opener against Charleston Southern. He had 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting.

KeVaughn Allen clearly doesn’t like being held off the scoreboard.

The senior failed to notch a point against FSU on Tuesday despite playing 23 minutes. It didn’t even take one minute for him to put the ball through the hoop this time around.

Allen opened the game by scoring the Gators’ first six points and didn’t slow down from there. He led the way offensively for UF, hitting six of his 11 shots for 14 points in a 76-46 win over Charleston Southern Friday night.

“I think KeVaughn Allen set the tone for tonight from the tip,” coach Mike White said. “He was our best player tonight.”

UF (1-1)  jumped out to a 10-3 lead behind Allen’s fast start, but once the scoring slowed down, CSU found itself down only six with 6:38 left in the first half.

A pair of Keyontae Johnson free throws and layups from guards Andrew Nembhard and Deaundrae Ballard in the final three minutes of the first half gave Florida a 16-point halftime lead, its largest of the game to that point.

Florida picked up right where it left off in the second half, scoring 12 unanswered to open the period. CSU’s 10 minute scoring drought finally came to an end when Christian Keeling hit a free throw after a Chase Johnson technical foul. The hapless Bucs offense managed to shoot only 25.5 percent from the field.

Several of the problems that doomed the Gators against FSU persisted against the Buccaneers (1-1). Florida’s bread and butter is shooting, but it was abysmal behind the three-point line, hitting only eight of its 28 shots.

The Gators were much better from a ball movement perspective in this game. The team was routinely able to give its scorers open looks. Hitting those shots, however, was a different story entirely. Nembhard and Jalen Hudson missed several open threes off good dishes. Nembhard had a well-rounded game Friday, earning seven rebounds and six assists, despite only shooting 2-of-7 for the night. The freshman ran the offense impressively, turning it over just once.

“Terrific,” White said of the point guard’s play. “He didn’t make many mistakes.”

Ballard followed up his team-leading 13 points against FSU with another solid game, scoring 12 points and securing six rebounds. The sophomore, who played 18 minutes, seems to be carving out a nice role for himself coming off the bench.

Freshman guard Noah Locke showed off his sharpshooting prowess in the second half, scoring eight points and hitting two threes.

It might not have been the flashiest performance, but White said he felt like the Gators got back on track in their rout of CSU.

“Our entire aura and culture was where it should be tonight,” White said.

 

Follow Tyler Nettuno on Twitter @TylerNettuno or contact him at [email protected].

Tyler Nettuno is a sports writer for the Alligator and covers the University of Florida men's basketball team. He has previously covered UF golf and lacrosse. He has worked at the paper since Fall 2017.