Gliding through the air, KeVaughn Allen dunked the ball as an explosion of cheers echoed through the O’Connell Center.
Allen’s slam reflected just how one-sided Florida’s second game of the season was, as the No. 8 Gators dominated North Florida, 108-68, Thursday night.
Florida pulled away early in the first half. Boosted by three-pointers from Jalen Hudson, Egor Koulechov and Allen, the Gators went on a 17-5 run to start the game.
UF (2-0) kept up the intensity throughout the half, extending its lead to 25 at one point. The Gators scored from all across the court, nailing jump shots in the paint and splashing six three-pointers.
UF didn’t let up after halftime either. Florida came out with two layups and back-to-back Keith Stone dunks to stymie any chance of a UNF comeback.
Allen led all players with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while Stone totaled 14 points. Koulechov finished with 13, and Jalen Hudson, Gorjok Gak and Deaundrae Ballard added 12 each.
Hudson said it's important that the offense is balanced, and he thinks the Gators could sustain that.
“We got a lot of great players,” Hudson said. “We got a lot of guys that can do a lot of things offensively.”
What made the Gators’ offense so efficient was their unselfish play, passing the ball until they found an open shot for 23 total assists.
UF coach Mike White said he’s not surprised by his team's solid play well early in the season because they are a little bit older and have a high level of character.
“They’re saying the right things, and so far they’re acting the right way about trying to do things relative to winning,” White said. “I like the way the ball’s moving.”
UF’s defense was a difference maker as well.
It applied pressure early on, forcing UNF (0-4) into tough, contested shots that led to airballs.
Chiozza and Gak led the way with three steals each, overwhelming UNF’s offense into 17 turnovers. The Gators stole the ball 11 times and blocked three Osprey shots.
They also dominated on the glass, outrebounding UNF, 48-29, led by Koulechov’s nine boards.
Despite a good defensive game, Hudson said the team needs to continue improving.
“In the second half, (UNF) let a lot (of three-pointers) go, so obviously, we weren’t doing our jobs,” Hudson said.
Florida plays at home against New Hampshire on Sunday night at 6 before heading to Portland, Oregon, to compete in the Phil Knight Invitational. UF's first matchup of the invitational will be against Stanford.
You can follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake, and contact him at [email protected].