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Florida 108, Stanford 87: Gators torch Cardinal to open PK80 Invitational

When these Gator Boys get hot, things burn.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Stanford Joseph Weiser-USA TODAY Sports

In the first half of the Florida Gators’ first game of the PK80 Invitational on Thursday night, the Gators made 13 of 18 threes to set a new school record for threes in a half — and had a buzzer-beater waved off as a shot-clock violation.

In the second half, Florida hit just two threes — and still won by just as many points as it led by at the break.

That was the story of Florida’s third utterly dominant blowout win of this young season — this one, over Stanford, was a 108-87 torching that was not nearly as close as the final score would suggest, especially given that Florida’s starters sat for much of the second half and Florida’s walk-ons played much of the final four minutes.

Jalen Hudson had 17 points, all in the first half, for Florida — and yet Egor Koulechov still outscored him by nine, pouring in 26 on just 14 shots to lead the Gators. Chris Chiozza had 14 points on six shots and a career-high 11 assists. Michael Okauru and Deaundrae Ballard each scored in double figures off the bench.

Playing without starting center Kevarrius Hayes — suspended for a violation of team rules, per a tweet sent an hour prior to the game — Florida did struggle to score and defend up front. Florida’s other four true forwards — Keith Stone, Gorjok Gak, Dontay Bassett, and Chase Johnson — combined to score 11 points, and Stanford’s Reid Travis bullied his way to a 23-point night.

That totally, completely, absolutely did not come close to changing the outcome of the game.

Neither did fairly good shooting for Stanford. The Cardinal shot 54 percent from the field and 41 percent from three and finished with two points fewer than their season high — and still, of course, lost by 21.

Florida will move on to take on either Ohio State or Gonzaga, and thus see either one of the few programs near the Gators’ level as a multi-sport powerhouse or a program just months removed from a trip to the national final.

Neither of those teams should be favored over Florida on Friday.

The Gator Boys were hot again tonight. And when they’re this hot, things just burn all the way down to the ashes.