GAINESVILLE -- Florida has been a team defined by good (Kansas, Yale) and bad (Miami, Louisiana-Monroe, Kansas) runs this season.
Sunday’s spurt against Jacksonville proved its most impressive scoring flurry thus far.
The Gators throttled the Dolphins 79-34 in the O’Connell Center, ending the game on a 51-10 sprint and holding JU to a paltry 10 points after halftime.
Forward Dorian Finney-Smith scored a career-high 25 points with eight rebounds, shooting a scorching 5-of-7 from downtown.
“Tonight was just my night,” he said.
“It felt great. My teammates did a great job finding me when I was open. We really moved the ball well.”
Finney-Smith led the way with a dozen points in the first half, including a turnaround jumper off the backboard at the buzzer. He also threw down a left-handed tomahawk, alley-oop -- the same hand with a pair of hairline fractures.
“I think for him everyday that goes by [his hand] gets a little better,” UF coach Billy Donovan. “Playing with that brace on isn’t the easiest thing for him. Each day he gets a little healthier.”
Junior sharpshooter Michael Frazier II added 22 points with six 3-pointers, while senior center Jon Horford chipped in a workman’s performance (12 points, 8 rebounds).
UF (6-4) won its third straight game, sweeping a three-game, five-day homestand.
The Gators never trailed and were sizzling from outside, drilling a season-high 13 3-pointers and shooting (55 percent) from the floor.
They opened the game hot, hitting four straight treys and 6 of their first 10 shots. But UF’s 16-7 start was quickly erased, as halfcourt defensive lapses (JU shot 50 percent in the first half) and sloppiness (seven turnovers) allowed the Dolphins (2-9) to stay close.
“I was really disappointed in the first half,” Donovan said. “We give up 50 percent from the field and didn’t come in with the right approach. This is part of these guys’ growing process. I thought from a competitive standpoint, I know the scoreboard didn’t show it, but they outplayed us.”
Florida’s intensity changed in the second half and the scoreboard absolutely conveyed the results.
The Gators dominated the Dolphins after halftime, shooting 68 percent from the field and suffocating JU defensively (16 percent from the field).
“We played much better in the second half,” Donovan said. “We certainly did a better job with our intensity level in the second half. … Doe-Doe really elevated our team.”
THIS & THAT
UF started a pair of true freshmen (forward Devin Robinson, guard Chris Chiozza) for the first time all season. Chiozza started in place of sophomore point guard Kasey Hill, who played despite battling a stomach bug. … The Gators were 6-of-11 from the charity stripe. … Florida’s next home game is Jan. 3 against Connecticut, the defending national champs.
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