Six Gators score in double figures in blowout win
WHAT HAPPENED: Senior guard Myreon Jones hit four first-half 3-pointers and led a half-dozen Gators to reach double-figure scoring Sunday with a half-dozen points, as 23rd-ranked UF had no trouble in a wire-to-wire rout of the Trojans at Exactech Arena/O'Connell Center. Florida opened a 29-point halftime lead behind 48.5-percent shooting, including nine 3-pointers. Jones had four of those 3s, including two on his team's first three buckets, to set the tone. Tyree Appleby, the hero from Wednesday night's last-second win over Ohio State, had 12 points. Phlandrous Fleming Jr., making his first start of the season, had 11 and six rebounds, Anthony Duruji scored 11, while senior forward Colin Castleton tallied 10 points and eight boards. Brandon McKissic scored all 10 of his points in the first half. The Gators opened the game by scoring the first 13 points and 16 of the first 18, including those 3-pointers from Jones (2), Fleming and Appleby. Jones dropped two more 3s midway through the period to help open an 18-point lead with nine minutes to go. That's where it stood with just inside five minutes to play when Appleby's second 3 started another run of 13 consecutive points to end the half, including back-to-back 3s from McKissic and a turn-around jumper at the halftime horn from seldom-used freshman wing Kowacie Reeves (8 points) to make it 49-20 at the break. The Gators led by as many as 41 in the second half and started emptying their bench with about 10 minutes remaining.
WHAT IT MEANS: The last time the Gators opened a season with six straight wins was in 2012-13 season, when they won the first seven and rose to No. 7 in the rankings. They should certainly rise from No. 23 in this week's poll. What matters just as much as the wins, though, is the team sticking to its defensive identity and workmanlike ways. UF took care of business.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: McKissic loves to play defense and really does not care if he scores. Doesn't mean he can't though, as the former Missouri-Kansas City star demonstrated when he dropped in 20 in UF's exhibition win against Embry-Riddle back on Nov. 1. Plus, he was playing with a sore hamstring he tweaked against Ohio State and kept him out of the starting lineup for the first time this season.
STAGGERING STATISTIC: The Gators have won their three games against mid-major opponents this season by an average of 29 points. That's what a really good team is supposed to do, especially on its home floor. Thus far (and it's early), UF looks like a really good team.
UP NEXT: Florida (6-0) will play its first true road game of the season Wednesday night at Oklahoma (6-1), a game that not only is the front of a home-and-home series scheduled a few years ago, but will be a preview of a future Southeastern Conference game. The Sooners just survived a road game at UCF, winning 65-62, with the Gators being the first Power 5 conference opponent OU has faced this season.