Fastbreak: Florida rebounds from tough loss to blast Baylor in SEC-Big 12 Challenge

By Adam Silverstein
January 27, 2018
Fastbreak: Florida rebounds from tough loss to blast Baylor in SEC-Big 12 Challenge

Image Credit: ESPN Images

No. 20 Florida Gators basketball (15-6) suffered a tough 77-72 loss at home to South Carolina on Wednesday but rebounded from it nicely on Saturday afternoon, routing the Baylor Bears2018 SEC-Big 12 Challenge at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Let’s take a look at UF’s 81-60 win in Fastbreak:

It was over when … Baylor was unable to cut into Florida’s large lead early in the second half, and the Gators pounded by pouring on a 15-3 scoring stretch that put them up a game-high 24 points with four minutes remaining. UF led by 12 at the break and never saw its advantage dip past nine in a dominant wire-to-wire victory.

Exceptional efforts: Senior point guard Chris Chiozza made three of his first four triples and finished with a game-high 20 points. He made 7-of-10 shots and 4-of-7 treys with six assists and six boards on the afternoon. He was not alone, however, as graduate transfer guard Egor Koulechov posted 16 points after draining three straight threes early in the first half and never attempting another in the contest, though he did add eight boards. Redshirt junior G Jalen Hudson also chipped in 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting from deep, though he did miss 4-of-5 free throws. In all, Florida went 14-of-25 from downtown (.560), its 10th game this season with double-digit threes and third game this campaign hitting better than 58 percent of its attempts from long range.

Odds and ends: The Gators were again beaten on the boards (36-30) and in the paint (32-18 points) by a bigger team in the Bears, but it did not matter one bit in this one … Florida scored 20 points off 15 Baylor turnovers and nine off the fastbreak … the only time the game spent tied was the first 20 seconds before Chiozza’s initial basket

What it means: It was a nice bounce-back win for the Gators and certainly a feel-good atmosphere in the O’Dome, as it is anytime Florida can rain threes in each half. Perhaps more importantly, the Gators improved their defensive effort, which head coach Mike White praised after the game, though he was sure to say they did not do it for all 40 minutes.

Up next: Florida hits the road to face Georgia on Tuesday night before returning back to Gainesville to host Alabama next Saturday. The Bulldogs are 3-5 in league play this year, while the Gators are 6-2.

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