The Gators got off to a fast start including a 58-33 halftime lead. The 58 points was the most versus any SEC opponent dating back to 1996-97.
Florida junior forward Devin Robinson paced all scorers with 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting including 5-of-8 from beyond the three point line. It was a career high for Robinson who also tallied eight rebounds and two assists on the night. Freshman guard Eric Hester surprised everyone watching with his shooting. In just 17 minutes on the floor, Hester scored 16 points on 5-of-5 from the arc. The last freshman to go perfect from beyond the arc on at least five shots was Matt Walsh when he went 7-for-7 in December of 2002.
Florida head coach Mike White said directly after the game that his team moved the ball as well as they have all season which accounted for the torrid shooting night. Florida tallied its most assists (24) since February of 2013.
“The ball movement had something to do with it,” he told the SEC Network’s Laura Rutledge. “Credit our guards, credit our shooters. I thought Devin was amazing. Devin played arguably his best game as a Gator. He was really good.
“I thought that is as well as we’ve moved the ball in a few games. Our point guards did a really good job of initiating offense. We got some inside out touches, (centers) John Egbunu and Kevarrius Hayes did a good job of making decisions in the paint. Our wings did a good job of post feeding, but ultimately we defended at a pretty high level, especially in the first half. When we got out in transition, it’s who we are. We got a couple of easy ones that allowed some shooters get a little confidence.
The Gators had six players score in double figures, including Egbunu (11) and Hayes (12). Senior forward Justin Leon and junior guard Chris Chiozza also scorched the nets from the outside, both going 3 –of-6 from behind the arc. Chiozza led everyone with 11 assists and also tallied five rebounds on the evening.
White was quick to point out that it was defense that led to a lot of points on the offensive side. The Gators yanked down 29 defensive rebounds, which has been a team weakness. They also limited LSU to 44% shooting and just 12% from beyond the arc.
“I think offensively it could be a little overrated,” White said with his usual defensive posture when it comes to style of play. “I know we made a bunch of shots tonight, but I like the way we defended at South Carolina. We battled and played extremely hard. I saw that same intensity level back tonight. That has to be our identity.”
Make no mistake about it; putting the ball in the basket was a sight for sore eyes on a night where the gators hot 10 consecutive three-pointers in a row.
“We happened to make some open shots,” he said. “Some of that is the basket seems to be a little bigger when you are in a defensive rhythm and you’re stringing together a few stops at a time and turning it over at times and defending the glass at a higher level.”