Tampa guard Pat Bacon drove to the basket midway through the first half only to have his shot swatted away by a towering Kevarrius Hayes into the hands of Keith Stone.
Stone brought the ball down to the other end of the court, where a pass to Hayes on the inside allowed him to score on a layup.
Florida’s dominance on both sides of the court Sunday led the team to a 94-57 win over Tampa in an exhibition game in the O’Connell Center. But the win wasn’t convincing enough for UF coach Mike White.
“I think we’re a team that has a chance to be good, but we’re far off,” White said. “I think this team is more talented offensively, but defensively, we’re nowhere near (where) last year’s group was.”
Florida’s offense was a threat across the court, nailing shots from beyond the arc while also making its presence felt in the paint.
UF guard Jalen Hudson opened up the scoring in the first half with a three-pointer 24 seconds into the game, and the Gators made 11 more after that.
Hudson led the team with 18 points behind three three-pointers and 5-of-6 made free throws. Stone followed with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting, and guards Mike Okauru and KeVaughn Allen added 11 points each.
“KeVaughn played one of his better games,” White said. “I loved his approach, his mentality. I thought he played as hard as I’ve ever seen him. I mean defensively he was all over the place, really pushing it in transition and played with a really high level of intensity.”
Florida’s success on offense showed itself in scoring runs throughout the first half.
The Gators went on a 10-point run early to go ahead, 20-8, with 14:37 left in the first half. Another 22-0 run about six minutes later stretched Florida’s lead to 37 points.
On defense, Hayes and center Gorjok Gak anchored a front court that allowed just 22 points in the first half. Combined, they had 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks.
“I felt like when we played defense, it directly translates to offense,” Hayes said. “And the more we start to realize that, I feel like the better we are going to be. I try to do the best I can trying to get that going, trying to be the rim protector for us and just keep anything coming in, out.”
On the other side of the court, Hayes collected four of the Gators’ 13 offensive rebounds, allowing UF to score 12 second-chance points.
As a team, the Gators notched 12 blocks and 45 rebounds, while Tampa had three blocks and 36 rebounds.
All 10 of Florida’s active players received playing time, each scoring at least six points and spending at least 13 minutes on the floor.
However, UF had no answer for Tampa forward Duke Shelton, who had a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. The Gators also turned the ball over 15 times, compared to Tampa’s 18.
“I told Duke Shelton I knew his number. I won’t forget his number for a week,” White said. “We may have gotten him drafted. He just abused us on the interior.”
The Gators now have one week before their season-opener against Gardner-Webb on Nov. 13 at the O’Connell Center.
You can follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake, and contact him at [email protected].