Any fears of Florida’s men’s basketball team faltering in its first home game of the 2016-17 season were fully unfounded.
The Gators roared to a huge lead over Arkansas-Little Rock in the first half and maintained it throughout the game, cruising to a 94-71 win over the Trojans that ranks with the most lopsided of Mike White’s tenure.
How good were the Gators? Let us name the ways.
- Florida scored an incredible 1.74 points per possession (PPP) in the first half, a figure that was almost a quarter of a point per possession better than any performance over a full game by the Gators since 2001-02. After cooling off in the second half, they finished at “just” 1.42 PPP — their best mark of the year, and second-best mark of the White era.
- Devin Robinson had a career-high 21 points, and missed as many dunks as threes, doing all of his scoring on just 11 shots.
- Kasey Hill had 11 points (on seven shots) and 11 assists, recording the first double-double of his collegiate career and the first points-assists double-double since Scottie Wilbekin recorded one in 2013. That more than compensated for his four turnovers.
- KeVaughn Allen scored 19 points on just 10 shots of his own, and sank five of seven threes — but he could have had a much bigger night, having started the game with 16 points in the first half. Allen didn’t score in the final 19:24 of play.
- Seven Gators made threes, and Florida’s 16 total threes were its most since 2001, tying for the sixth-most in school history. The Gators’ 51.6 percent clip from range was their fifth-best under White, and the only Gator to attempt and not make a three was Justin Leon — who led Florida in three-point percentage a year ago.
- Every Gator who entered the game scored ... except for Justin Leon, who started? I don’t get that one, either.
- Florida had 23 defensive rebounds; Little Rock had 24 total rebounds.
- Florida steals accounted for eight of Little Rock’s 13 turnovers.
- Little Rock actually won the second half, 44-38 — but lost by 23.
Oh, and this happened:
This also happened:
All told, it was a fairly successful night for Florida.
It’s only a shame that it will be almost two weeks before these Gators return to a building they made their home again in a hurry.