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Florida Gators basketball (2-0) spent the weekend in Jacksonville and left with a two in the win column, caging the Mercer Bears on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Arena after grounding Florida Gulf Coast on Friday. Florida won 70-50 on Sunday, dominating nearly every phase of the game.
OnlyGators.com breaks down Sunday’s win with six quick-hitters.
It was over when … Florida ended the first half on an 18-2 run — capped by a buzzer-beating tip-in by sophomore center Kevarrius Hayes — to take a 22-point lead at the break. The Gators increased that lead to 26 soon after the second half began and never looked back.
Exceptional effort: Senior forward Justin Leon remains a solid contributor for Florida, and he had one of his typically efficient nights on Sunday. Leon posted a team-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, hitting 3-of-5 shots from three and both of his free throws. He added five boards and wound up +13 in 24 minutes of action.
Significant stat: Don’t look now … but the Gators are making their free throws. One of the worst teams in the nation at the line during the 2015-16 season, Florida went 25-for-31 (.806) from the charity stripe on Sunday and is now 45-for-57 (.789) this season. Granted, these free throws have not come in pressure situations, but it’s an important first step.
What it means: Florida did what it was supposed to do, which is thoroughly beat an inferior team. The Gators led for 33:17 of the 40 minutes and mostly stayed out of trouble to complete the Jacksonville sweep.
Odds and ends: Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen (+24) finished with 15 points and filled out the stat sheet but had an off night shooting the ball, making just 3-of-12 shots (2-of-9 threes) along with all seven of his free throws; he also led the way for the Gators with five assists (and four turnovers) while blocking two shots and grabbing two steals … junior forward Devin Robinson posted 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds … point guards senior Kasey Hill and sophomore Chris Chiozza combined to go 2-for-10 … Florida won the rebounding battle 47-32, scored 22 points off turnovers and made the most of its second chances with 24 points … as a team the Gators made just 22-of-61 shots (.360), which is not going to cut it against tougher competition.
Up next: UF will play its lone game of the week on Thursday in Lakeland, Florida, hosting St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m. ET in a game that will only air live on SEC Network+. It is one of two remaining games this season that will not be televised.