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Jan 27, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Baylor Bears forward Nuni Omot (21) drives around Florida Gators guard Chris Chiozza (11) during the first half at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

No. 20 Florida Dominant In 81-60 Victory Over Baylor in SEC-Big 12 Challenge

No. 20 Florida’s three-point shooting was too much for the Baylor Bears in Saturday’s 81-60 win in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. The Gators went 14-25 (56%) from beyond the arc en route to a 21-point victory at Exactech Arena. Chris Chiozza led Florida with a team-high 20 points, while Jalen Hudson added 17, 14 of which came in the second half. Egor Koulechov came close to a double-double, finishing the game with 16 points and 8 rebounds.

The Gators limited the Bears to 40% shooting from the field and 20% shooting from beyond the arc. Florida never trailed in Saturday afternoon’s contest, leading the game for 39 minutes and 40 seconds. UF will have two days off before taking on the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens on Tuesday night in the first meeting of the two rivals this season.

Final Five Thoughts 

  1. When The Threes Are Falling, The Rest Seems To Come: The Gators are now 12-3 in games that they hit 8 or more three-pointers. Florida ended the game 14-25 from beyond the arc, sinking 9 of their 12 attempts from deep in the first half. 5 different Gators hit at least one three-pointer. Chiozza and Hudson led the way with 4 triples apiece. When Florida hits their threes at a consistent clip, it forces the defense to play further outside the paint, opening up the interior for Florida’s frontcourt. UF’s offensive showing in the fist half was one of their best 20-minute stretches of the season. 
  1. Jo Lual-Acuil Got The Chris Silva Treatment: Florida did an exponentially better job containing Jo Lual-Acuil on Saturday than they did vs. Chris Silva on Wednesday night. The Gators held one of the Big 12’s best big men to only 9 points and 5 rebounds on 4-7 shooting. Whenever the ball went inside to Lual-Acuil, the nearest forward would collapse in the paint forcing a pass or a turnover. While the strategy worked on Lual-Acuil, the Bears still outscored the Gators in the paint, 34-20.

  1. Chiozza Can Be The Best Point Guard In The Country: Chris Chiozza once again showed why having a senior point guard is so vital in the NCAA. Chiozza’s cool demeanor and court vision helped Florida sift through Baylor’s stingy defense throughout the contest. “Cheese” ended the game with 20 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. He also went 4-7 from beyond the arc, tying his season-high for three-pointers made, and only committed 1 turnover in 30 minutes of play.

  1. Egor Koulechov is the X-Factor: When Egor Koulechov scores 14 or more points, the Gators are 9-2 on the season. After going 1-4 from long-range against South Carolina, Koulechov knocked down all 3 attempts from downtown, finishing the game with 16 points. The graduate transfer has also grabbed at least 8 rebounds in 8 of the Gator’s last 9 games.
  1. A Bit Of Luck: Florida gave up 11 offensive rebounds, but only 8 second-chance points. The Gators benefitted from the Bears missing countless easy opportunities at the rim. Baylor missed 10 of their 20 layups on Saturday afternoon. Florida was also outrebounded for the 5th time in 8 games. These anomalies won’t come many times this season.

About Jake Winderman

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