Mar 11, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Florida Gators cheerleaders cheer for their team against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second half of game six of the SEC tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Strong Second Half Propels Florida to 91-63 Victory Over Eckerd

With a crowd one-tenth of the size Florida is used to, the Gators got off to a slow start, finding themselves down by one at the end of the first half. The final twenty minutes were a completely different story, as a 19-2 run midway through the second half propelled Florida to a 91-63 victory over Eckerd College in Jacksonville at Veterans Memorial Arena.

Egbunu Strong All-Around

John Egbunu led the Gators in points and rebounds, finishing the game with a double-double, recording 18 points and 13 rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting. KeVaughn Allen and Devin Robinson were key contributors as well, with Allen adding 13 points and three assists, while Robinson scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Other Standouts

Canyon Barry, Keith Stone and Eric Hester all contributed to Florida’s win on Wednesday night. Barry finished the game with 11 points and one assist, Stone had five rebounds and four points and Hester added four assists, but no points.

First Half Recap

The Gators as a team shot 32-0f-67 from the floor, but only 5-of-18 from downtown. Florida out-rebounded Eckerd, 45-35, and recorded 16 offensive rebounds.

Despite starting the game 4-of-5 from the floor, the Gators’ three turnovers in the first five minutes kept it close. Florida led 10-8 after the first five.

The Tritons tied the game up at 14 with 10:50 left in the first half. Eckerd’s run seemed to finally spark some energy with the Gators, as Florida went on an 8-0 run after Eckerd equalized.

Eckerd once again swung the momentum back their way, taking their first lead of the game with 6:04 left in the first half. The Tritons led by as many as four in the first half.

Florida finally took the lead back with under a minute left in the first half as Canyon Barry knocked down a three-pointer from the corner. The shot from downtown gave Barry his first points as a Gator.

Eckerd though went into the half with a 34-33 lead after Keyshawn Ingram knocked down a layup with 27 seconds left in the first frame. Ingram led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with 14, going 4-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-4 from downtown.

Gator Shooting Woes in First Half

Florida went a measly 11-28 (39 percent) in the first half to Eckerd’s 14-26 (54 percent). The Gators’ top scorer in the first twenty was John Egbunu, who notched six points on 3-of-4 shooting. Neither team was particularly successful from three-point land, with the Tritons going 2-of-8 and the Gators going 3-of-11. UF only made two of their last 13 shots to end the first half.

Eckerd’s bench fueled their run in the first half, as the Tritons’ reserves scored 18 points. Eckerd moved the ball better than Florida in the first half, recording eight assists to the Gators’ five. Despite being one of the better rebounding teams in the country last season, UF only out-rebounded Eckerd, 19-18, in the first half.

The Second Half

The second half started out quite sloppy, with the two teams starting a combined 4-of-13 from the floor.

Down two with just under 17 minutes left in the game, Canyon Barry was sent to the foul line and tied the game up at 40 with two, pristine under-handed free throws. KeVaughn Allen followed up the charity stripe success with a strip and ferocious “And-1” slam to put the Gators back up by three.

Allen’s steal and dunk was the spark plug the Gators’ offense needed. Florida proceeded to go on a 19-2 run to take a 57-42 lead with 12:33 left in the game. The run finally ended after Keyshawn Ingram knocked down a three-pointer with 12:15 left in the contest. The Gators led 57-45 at that point in the game.

Florida took their first 20-point lead with 8:46 left in the contest, going up 70-49, and never looked back. The Gators won the game, 91-63.

About Jake Winderman

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