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Florida 84, Oklahoma 52: Gators boom Sooners as Kevarrius Hayes stars

Florida got a second straight road rout with a blend of offense and defense.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators men’s basketball team beat the LSU Tigers by 35 on their home court on Wednesday.

For their Saturday encore, they beat the Oklahoma Sooners by 32 on their home floor.

Florida’s 84-52 win over the Sooners in Norman was, much like its win over LSU, not a particularly competitive basketball game after the Gators took off midway through the first half. The Gators responded to a 5-0 run to begin the game to get to 20-20 at the under-eight timeout, then raced into halftime with a 23-8 spurt — with an 18-4 close — to build a double-digit lead that would never really be threatened.

And much like in its win over LSU, Florida was led by a player’s surprising career-high in points. Kevarrius Hayes scored 20 points and snagged nine rebounds, having his finest game in a Gators uniform and taking advantage of an Oklahoma frontcourt that was without Khadeem Lattin due to foul trouble for most of the day.

Devin Robinson (13 points) and Kasey Hill (12 points, eight assists) were Florida’s only starters in double figures, but Canyon Barry added 15 points off the bench in his return to action, and every Gator who played other than Keith Stone and Chris Chiozza scored — and Stone played sparingly, missing the second half due to illness, while Chiozza had four assists in his scoreless minutes.

Florida had 16 assists to Oklahoma’s four, and just nine turnovers to the Sooners’ 12. It shot only 42.2 percent from the floor, but piped in a respectable 36.6 percent of its threes — and an excellent 22-for-28 performance at the line made the Gators’ lead impregnable.

Not that the Sooners, limited to 28 percent from the field and a single three on 15 attempts, had much potency to threaten that advantage.

Florida returns to the O’Connell Center on Wednesday for a game against lowly Missouri that should provide another opportunity for a blowout, and vital confidence entering next Saturday’s showdown with Kentucky.

And if they can keep up the form they found this week through that clash with the Wildcats, the Gators might make a jump from really good to elite.