Tyus Dominates the Knights

A career night from Alex Tyus led the Florida Gators to a 89-61 win over UCF in Jacksonville on Saturday. Tyus led the Gators in both scoring and rebounds with 20 points and 14 boards. Freshmen Erving Walker and Kenny Kadji also had big nights for the Gators.

The Gators were coming off a 10-day layoff and responded well by scoring 49 first half points. Florida was red-hot from the floor, making eight 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes while hitting 62 percent of their shots.

"I thought it was a shootout a little to start the game," head coach Billy Donovan said after the win. "We made 3s and they made 3s. I thought it was good because we had to play defense for longer periods of time."

The Golden Knights shot the ball well from behind the arc, knocking down six of their first seven from long range. They, too, were hot from the floor, hitting 57 percent of their shots in the first half, but Tyus' inside presence was too much. The big man grabbed rebound after rebound and scored 12 in the first half. The Gators dominated the glass and outscored UCF 16-0 on second chance points in the first half.

"The one positive for us this year is that we've tried to get the offense rebound," Donovan said. "Alex was great on the glass tonight. I love watching a guy fighting for an offensive rebound. We did make an effort to go to the glass, which was big because we created more opportunities in the first half."

Despite Florida's quick start, UCF's shooting kept the game close for most of the first half. With seven minutes left in the half, Florida led by only seven points. But Walker's hot hand off the bench sparked the Gators, and Florida was able to take a 19-point lead by the end of the half, 52-33.

Walker scored 14 points in the first half - one better than his career high. He was a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc. Kenny Kadji also scored 15, giving the Gators nearly 30 points off the bench from those two alone.

Florida's defense improved in the second half, holding the Knights to less than 30 percent shooting from the floor. But Donovan was not pleased with the rebounding effort of the freshmen.

The bright spot for the Gators in the second half was their free throw shooting. After getting to the line only four times in the first half, they were 11-of-13 in the second half.

Nick Calathes posted a double-double as well, scoring 16 points and dishing out 11 assists. He also had four steals in 30 minutes played. Dan Werner scored nine - all from behind the arc. Both Walter Hodge and Chandler Parsons struggled scoring just three points each and a combined 2-of-12 from the floor.

Florida returns to the O'Connell Center on Monday night to face Georgia Southern.


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