Florida basketball score: Jalen Hudson breaks out of funk as Gators blast FGCU

By Adam Silverstein
December 22, 2018
Florida basketball score: Jalen Hudson breaks out of funk as Gators blast FGCU

Image Credit: ESPN Images

Though they were tested on Saturday night in Sunrise, Florida, the Florida Gators eventually cruised to a 77-56 win over the FGCU Eagles at the BB&T Center as part of the 2018 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. With the win, the Gators improved to 17-3 all-time in the annual event with victories in eight of their last nine games in Sunrise.

Let’s take a look at what went down in Florida’s latest win.

It was over when … Florida opened the second half on a 7-0 run and quickly amassed a 26-point lead with 13 minutes to play. For a team that has struggled scoring all season, the Gators found the BB&T Center baskets friendly, building their lead with triples and cleaning up around the basket when necessary. Though FGCU ended the first half with a run that cut into UF’s advantage, it was unable to come back once the Gators took an insurmountable lead midway through the second period.

Exceptional efforts: Redshirt senior guard Jalen Hudson, — actually named the MVP of the event — broke out of his slump in a major way, hitting four of his first eight three-point attempts, including three straight to close the first half. Hudson posted 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting and finished 4-of-9 from downtown with five boards. Freshman G Noah Locke decided not to bother inside the arc on Saturday, connecting on 5-of-9 shots from long range for 15 points. Senior center Kevarrius Hayes also beasted in the paint, making all five of his baskets and both of his free throws for 12 points to go along with seven rebounds.

Odds and ends: Head coach Mike White was assessed a technical at the start of the second half … most of Florida’s starters sat for the final quarter of the game … the Gators netted 34 points off 22 Eagles turnovers … UF had 17 assists on 28 made baskets … Florida outscored FGCU in the paint, off the bench and on second chances

What it means: The victory was a good note for Florida to go out on before taking a week off for Christmas. It was a win the Gators certainly needed to get some confidence back, but let’s not overrate the Eagles, which fall to 5-9 on the season with the loss and are a shell of the team that made a run in the NCAA Tournament a few years ago.

Up next: Florida will host Butler in one week — after taking the holiday off — on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. ET.

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