Nov 21, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Mike White talks with guard Chris Chiozza (11) against the Belmont Bruins during the first half at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Chiozza leads No. 24 Florida Mens Hoops To First True Road Game Win Over UNF

Although the No.24 Florida men’s basketball team has traveled throughout the state in competition so far, they have played on neutral sites.  But on Thursday night Florida played its first true road contest of the season at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and the Gators came away with a 91-60 win.  This was a rematch of Florida’s NIT game with the Ospreys that took place at the end of last season and the Gators beat them there as well.

Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen scored the first points for the Gators and Florida would never trail in the game.  In the first half Florida outrebounded UNF 21-16 and held the Ospreys to four offensive rebounds. The Gators were up just six points early but a 12-2 run padded the lead and at halftime the Gators led by 20 with the score at 45-25.

Despite Florida’s first half success, it did have trouble containing UNF’s senior guard Dallas Moore. According to UNF head coach Matthew Driscoll, NBA teams such as the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers were at the UNF Arena to watch Moore who scored 31 points for the Ospreys.

UNF also played the game without returning starter Chris Davenport who was suspended for the game.

In the second half however, two three pointers by Moore cut the UF lead to 45-33 but after that, the Gators had a 23-4 run to put the game away.  The team overall had a good night with Florida having seven of its players score at least seven points. The Gators had a season best 51 from the bench, while shooting 58.5 percent from the floor and 47.4 from three.

It was a great night for Chris Chiozza who matched his career high in assists at nine, and he led the Gators in scoring with 16 points.

I like this gym a lot we shoot really well in here; it’s like playing in a high school gym” Chiozza said.

Florida head coach Mike White said that he was very pleased with Chiozza’s “vision and unselfishness.”

Justin Leon followed with 12 points, Canyon Barry added 12, and Devin Robinson had 10 points.

The whole team got some time on the court Thursday night with freshmen Gorjak Gak and Eric Hester getting some experience. Hester played for 11 minutes and had his first career points for the Gators, with a three. Also at the end of the game Gak had his first points with four including a dunk.

Up next the Gators get ready for one of their toughest challenges of the year with the Duke Blue Devils. The last time Florida faced Duke was in 2000 where they upset them in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. “Regardless of how much success we have, we have to play the same Gator basketball,” Leon said about playing Duke.

“Duke’s always a great team and they’re ranked above us but we’re going to come out against Duke like we come out against anybody else. Whatever happens happens; we’re ready to go to war though,” Chiozza said.

Florida will travel to New York City to face the No. 5 Duke Blue Devils in the Jimmy V Classic at the Madison Square Garden on Tuesday..

 

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