Florida Gators Defeat Seton Hall

The Florida Gators took on the Seton Hall Pirates in the first round of the Advocare Invitational  in Orlando and it was a close one throughout. The Gators defeated the Pirates 76-81 and now have one of their best starts in years with a 5-0 record.

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Seton Hall, a team who won the Big East Conference last year and played in the first round of the NCAA tournament, had four players scoring in double figures. Khadeen Carrington led the way for the Pirates with 28 points.

Point guard Chris Chiozza knew by the scouting report that this was a tough team and Carrington didn’t make this challenge any easier for the Gators, especially on the defensive end.  “He’s crafty and he’s got a good change of speed. It’s also tougher because he’s a lefty,” said Chiozza.

Carrington made Gator fans go to the edge of their seats with a three-point play with 1:24 left in the game.

However it was KeVaughn Allen who found his way for the Gators. He found a way down the right side of the lane to shoot the ball to give the Gators the lead with 55 seconds left in the game. Gator Head Coach Mike White was happy to see the team’s top scorer from last year get back to his old ways.

“He was different tonight. I was messing with him saying what have you been waiting on? This is the KeVaughn we’ve all know and love. He was in a really good rhythm,”  White said.

Then Chiozza—with a free throw—helped the Gators get a cushion as the seconds dwindled now. Seton Hall tried to pull close after Myles Powell was fouled on a three-point attempt but he only made two of the three. Some key rebounds and free throws by Canyon Barry then gave the Gators the win they needed to move onto the next round.

This win didn’t come easy, not just because they played an NCAA tournament team who could win the Big East title again this year, but because of the amount of starters who fouled out for the Gators. Devin Robinson, Kasey Hill, and Chris Chiozza all fouled out by the end of the game. The fact that these players didn’t get their normal minutes due to foul trouble shows the depth within this Gator team. White knows and believes the depth can continue to improve with younger players.

“I think we have a chance to have pretty good depth. Gorjok Gak just learned he was cleared two weeks ago and he’s got a ways to go and can get better by experience. Keith Stone by January to find his way potentially into more minutes, of course that all depends on the opponent and how well his teammates are playing” White said.

Canyon Barry, a player who has been improving and getting more minutes each game had another career high with 20 points. Barry also added six rebounds. John Egbunu, who had a slower start offensively, had eight points, 10 rebound and four blocked shots. He held Seton Hall center Angel Delgado to three rebounds, 13 points, and 5-of-13 for shooting.

Up Next

The Gators move to the next round, and face No. 11 Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are another undefeated team who made it to the Sweet Sixteen in last year’s NCAA tournament. Thursday night, the Bulldogs defeated Quinnipiac 82-62.

The Florida Gators will face the Gonzaga Bulldogs at 9:30 p.m. Friday at the HP Field House at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, FL.

Radio coverage will be on ESPN Gainesville 95.3 FM and television coverage will be on ESPN 2.

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