The Florida Gators have struggled coming off major wins this season, losing to Central Florida and Jacksonville after hard-fought victories against Florida State and then-No. 6 Kansas State. Snapping Xavier’s 30-game home winning streak Saturday, Florida (11-3) kept their momentum going Monday by thrashing the Rhode Island Rams (9-5) 84-59 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.
Senior forward Chandler Parsons, marred in a slump most of the season, led the way for the Gators with the ninth double-double of his career. He scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting (3-for-4 from downtown) and added 12 rebounds (seven offensive) to go along with five assists for his best performance of the season.
Up 13-12 over URI with 11:48 left in the first half, UF took off on a 22-2 run and only allowed the Rams one basket in more than seven minutes. Rhode Island counted with a 7-0 run to cut Florida’s lead to 14 at the half.
The Gators’ lead teetered back-and-forth in the second half, but the Rams never trailed by less than 15 points after the break.
With the game coming to a close, head coach Billy Donovan inserted walk-on guard Kyle McClanahan into the contest. He missed his first two free throws but hustled back down for a layup on the next possession to give Florida a game-high 26-point lead.
Monday’s game turned out to be a dunk-fest for the Gators with Parsons, redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, senior F Alex Tyus and freshman G/F Casey Prather all throwing it down on their opponents.
Junior point guard Erving Walker was Florida’s second-leading scorer with 14 points on 50 percent shooting from both the field and downtown. Tyus and sophomore G Kenny Boynton each finished with 10 points though Boynton continued to struggle shooting the ball going 3-for-12 from the field and 2-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Macklin finished with six points in limited minutes, and freshmen Prather and C Patric Young both scored eight points without missing a single shot between them.
Rhode Island was led by F Delroy James, who posted 23 points and six rebounds.
With their out-of-conference slate now complete, the Gators are set to begin Southeastern Conference competition on Saturday at home against Ole Miss. The game will air live at 8 p.m. on Comcast Sports South.