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MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - EAST REGION - 1ST ROUND - AA Center - Dallas, TX

No. 6 seed Florida handles St. Bonaventure 77-62

1609 days ago
Associated Press

DALLAS -- Egor Koulechov scored 20 points and Florida eased past St. Bonaventure 77-62 on Thursday night, ending the Bonnies' postseason run two days after their first NCAA Tournament victory in 48 years.

Jalen Hudson scored 16 points and Chris Chiozza had 11 assists for the sixth-seeded Gators, who have reached the Elite Eight the past five times they've been in the tournament. Florida (21-12) will face Texas Tech in an East Region second-round game Saturday.

A whirlwind week finally caught up with the Bonnies (26-8), who finished at 35 percent shooting but were in the 20s when the outcome was in doubt.

Courtney Stockard led St. Bonaventure with 14 points after scoring 26 in a win over UCLA in a First Four game in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday.

Stockard fouled out with 2:10 remaining and left to a standing ovation from Bonnies fans who were still on their feet in the final minutes in sections just across the American Airlines Center court from their team's bench.

Koulechov is a graduate transfer from Rice who was a freshman at Arizona State when the Sun Devils lost a tournament opener to Texas on buzzer-beater in 2014. He was 4 of 10 from 3-point range.

Florida trailed 22-21 late in the first half when Mike Okauru hit a 3-pointer to start a 15-0 run that continued after halftime and put the Gators up 36-22.

Hudson soared over Matt Mobley for a put-back dunk and made the free throw after a foul to give Florida its first 20-point lead at 57-37 with about 8 minutes remaining.

St. Bonaventure, which set a school record for wins by beating UCLA and was an at-large choice out of the Atlantic 10 Conference, was making its first NCAA appearance since 2012 and seventh overall.

BIG PICTURE

St. Bonaventure: Senior backcourt leaders Mobley and Jaylen Adams weren't much of a factor in their final games. While Mobley scored 10 points, he was 1 of 9 on 3-pointers. The pair combined to go 5 of 19 from the field, including 1 of 12 from long range. Adams scored 11.

Florida: The Gators rolled without much scoring help from the two most experienced players off last year's East Regional finalist. Chiozza, who hit the running 3 that beat Wisconsin in the regional semifinals last year, scored eight, but did finish just one off his career high for assists. KeVaughn Allen, who scored a career-high 35 in that win over the Badgers, had seven points. They were a combined 5 of 17 from the field.

UP NEXT

While the tired Bonnies go home, the Gators will face a heavily pro-Texas Tech crowd in Dallas. American Airlines Center is about a five-hour drive from the Red Raiders' Lubbock campus.