Arkansas forward Jaylin Williams (10) defends against Florida forward Colin Castleton (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

Florida Basketball’s Golden Era Begins With a Win

Monday marked the official start of the Golden Era for the Gator men’s basketball program. Todd Golden secured his first win as Florida’s basketball coach in dominant fashion. The Gators defeated Stony Brook 81-45.

Sophomore forward Alex Fudge led the way with 16 points and three rebounds, while sophomore guard Will Richard pitched in 14 points and three rebounds. Fifth-year senior Colin Castleton delivered a balanced performance with 13 points, five rebounds, four blocks and three assists.

Lockdown Defense

Kowacie Reeves drained a three-point shot 27 seconds into the game to get the Gators rolling. The story of the first half was tough defense from Florida. The Gators held the Seawolves scoreless for the first 6 minutes and 20 seconds of the game.

Golden commented on his team’s defensive effort.

“We dominated the paint, did a really good job on the glass, and we did a great job taking care of the ball. Those are areas that don’t require a lot of talent. It’s more about being physical and having the will and desire to go get it.”

Castleton delivered two big blocks early, setting the tone on defense for the rest of the night.

Florida didn’t waste any time knocking down shots as well. The Gators dominated inside with 24 of their 38 points in the first half coming from the paint. Florida entered halftime with a comfortable 38-22 lead.

Gators Don’t Back Down

Richard went on a 7-0 run at the start of the second half to help Florida jump to a 47-24 lead. The bench also played a significant offensive role in the second half, accounting for 21 of the Gators’ second half points.

Fudge proved to be a reliable contributor coming off the bench, shooting 50% from the field and three-point line.

The Seawolves had no answer for the Gators’ lockdown defense and offensive bursts throughout the second half. Florida kept Stony Brook under 30 points until there was 8:25 left in the game.

The energy in the O’Dome reached its peak in the final minute of the game. Walk-ons Alex Klatsky and Jack May checked into the game and left their marks on the scoreboard. Klatsky drained a three, and May followed it up with a put-back layup.

The Gators walked away with a 81-45 win over Stony Brook.

Up Next

The Gators host Kennesaw State Friday at 7 p.m. The Owls secured a commanding 99-56 season-opening victory over LaGrange College.

About Shailey Klein

Shailey Klein is a second-year journalism major specializing in sports and media at UF.

Check Also

Kentucky manhandles No. 22 Florida, 33-14

The Kentucky Wildcats defeated visiting Florida, 33-14, Saturday for the third consecutive season. Kentucky (5-0, …