The Florida Gators men’s basketball team entered the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to face the LSU Tigers with hopes of ending a two-game losing streak on Wednesday.
They did that and then some: Florida’s 106-71 victory set multiple program records for three-point proficiency in a building named for one of the greatest shooters of all time, and showed just how good these Gators can be when their shots fall.
Those shots, especially from distance, fell swiftly and in bunches, with Florida making 11 of 15 triples in the first half before cooling off in the second half by going 8-for-18. The 19th three — which was also the fifth by freshman Eric Hester, who scored his first points in SEC play on the evening, and finished with 16 points on the night — broke Florida’s school record for threes in a game, which dated to a December 1996 game against Robert Morris.
Florida didn’t just make threes, either: The Gators went 17-for-31 inside the arc, tallied a season-high 24 assists, snagged 10 offensive rebounds and allowed LSU to corral under 18 percent of its offensive boards, and limited the Tigers to 43.8 percent shooting from the field and a terrible 2-for-17 performance from three.
But that sort of all-around efficiency isn’t the headline, and things like Devin Robinson’s career-high 24 points — and Canyon Barry’s absence, as he sat with an injury — will all be relegated to space below the fold after a game like this. The absurd truth that Florida set its school record for threes in a game exactly one week after an 0-for-17 performance that broke a 25-year streak of games with a three is a footnote, too.
Don’t let the bombardment of buckets fool you, though: This was Florida playing its best game of the season and eviscerating a talented — if disinterested — outfit.
And if the Gators can play like this, or even approach this level, consistently? They can play as deep into this season as they want.