In a blink, Florida led 10-0 over Stony Brook in Wednesday’s matinee.
The rest of the game went about as briskly — and as well.
Florida got a Gators-best 20 points from Phlandrous Fleming and a career night from Jason Jitoboh — 12 points, seven rebounds, all on the offensive end — in an 87-62 rout of the Seawolves that was not close after the Gators’ opening salvo.
Three different Gators scored in that 10-0 run covering the first 2:43 of play, none of them Fleming or Jitoboh, and six Gators had seven or more points on the day, with eight having four or more. Colin Castleton (15 points, seven rebounds, three assists) and C.J. Felder (12 points, five rebounds, two assists) would join Fleming and Jitoboh in double figures, and Felder joined Fleming in making multiple threes, helping Florida to get points from behind the arc even without Myreon Jones, out due to COVID protocols.
The Gators dominated on the glass, where they had 15 offensive rebounds and gave up just five, and moved the ball well, notching 20 assists on 32 makes. Fleming and Felder combined for six of Florida’s eight threes, and the suffocating Gators defense pried a season-high 17 turnovers from the Seawolves, who entered the day as one of the nation’s most careful teams with the ball.
Jitoboh was especially impressive inside, holding his ground and using his soft hands to get boards and easy baskets on a day when Castleton sat for longer stretches than usual and Mike White tested out some different rotations against an overmatched foe. (Freshman Kowacie Reeves was also given more minutes than usual, and rewarded White with eight points and four rebounds, including an offensive board leading to an and-one late in the second half.)
And while a quick 5-0 run by the Seawolves cut that initial 10-point lead in half and impressive shot-making kept them from falling hopelessly behind — credit Jahlil Jenkins and Juan Felix Rodriguez for combining to shoot 12-for-19 from the field and big man Jaden Sayles for making eight of his nine baskets, as the trio combined to score 44 points — the Gators never led by fewer than 10 points after the 11:54 mark of the first half and spent the entire second half up by 18 or more.
It was, in sum, a strong performance by a team that was expected to produce one against an America East front-runner that simply lacked the size to match up with Florida. And so the Gators will go into SEC play having put together one of their more complete outings of the year thus far.