Five Gators scored in double-figures as the Florida men’s basketball team crushed Division II Palm Beach Atlantic with an 89-42 win in an exhibition contest on Thursday night in Gainesville. Dorian Finney-Smith, Devin Robinson, and freshman KeVaughn Allen had 12 points a piece to lead a balanced Florida attack. Despite the blow-out performance, the Gators committed 23 turnovers in first-year head coach Mike White’s first game at the O’Connell Center.
Despite the turnovers, the Gators forced Palm Beach Atlantic to commit 30 turnovers of their own. They also held the Sailfish to 29.4% shooting. “It was good. Guys were flying around. We see the press work. We [were] getting easy shots, easy layups,” said Finney-Smith, who also had eight rebounds and two steals. “We [were] turning our defense into offense which was good. So I think tonight was a good game you know pressing wise.” Florida also struggled from the free-throw line. The Gators shot only 10-for-27 from the charity stripe – an off-season removed from when the Gators were plagued by free-throw struggles during Billy Donovan’s final year in Gainesville.
One bright spot was USF transfer center John Egbunu, who chipped in 11 points, six rebounds, and three blocks. Egbunu gives the Gators a strong inside presence that was not there in last year’s disappointing season in which the team failed to make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. Senior Alex Murphy sustained a right foot injury in the first-half and had to exit the game; his status remains unknown. Transfer forward Justin Leon also left the game with a right knee injury. The Gators kick off their regular-season opener against Navy on Friday November 13.