GAINESVILLE -- It (briefly) snowed in Florida on Saturday.
So naturally, the Gators were white-hot inside the O'Dome on a frigid night, hitting a flurry of 3-pointers en route to a 95-63 trouncing over Auburn.
Senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith led the way with 24 points and eight rebounds, while three others scored in double figures.
Auburn’s nightmares versus Florida (13-6, 5-2 SEC) continued, losing for the 11th straight time in Gainesville.
Three takeaways from UF’s third-straight conference victory:
UF shot Auburn out the gym from the tip, jumping to a 20-5 lead behind an 18-0 run in the first five minutes of action. They led by as many as 25 in the first half, hitting 11 of their first 16 shots -- including five 3-pointers.
Finney-Smith had 10 points, four rebounds and one assist before the first media timeout.
“They were firing on all cylinders,” Tigers coach Bruce Pearl said.
Florida led 53-32 at halftime and continued its scorching shooting in the second half. The Gators hit a season-best 56.9 percent from the floor, scoring 80-plus points for the third straight game and matching a season-high with 20 assists. Florida -- normally brick-layers at the charity stripe ranking No. 346 nationally -- even hit 20 of 24 free throws.
“We just made shots,” Finney-Smith said.
“There’s some nights like this when you just can’t miss.”
With Florida (nearly) flawlessly spacing the floor and sharing the basketball, the Tigers had zero answers defensively. Zilch.
The Gators played inside-out, as UF center John Egbunu dominated the paint. The 6-foot-11, 255-pounder was a board short of recording his third double-double on the season with 12 points and nine rebounds. Egbunu consistently overwhelmed AU with his size and power, ducking in for easy dunks and short hook shots.
Even when the sophomore got into foul trouble, freshman big-man Kevarrius Hayes provided some of the best minutes of his collegiate career (six points, six rebounds).
“They got whatever they wanted inside,” Pearl said.
“Whatever they wanted.”
Meanwhile, Florida’s point guard duo -- Chris Chiozza and Kasey Hill -- gave the Tigers fits, too, combining for 28 points and 12 assists.
The Gators also frustrated Auburn’s top offensive option, holding dynamic point guard Kareem Canty (averaging 19.4 ppg) to just 12 points on 15 shots -- and zero 3-pointers for the nation’s second-best volume shooter from downtown. Canty was 0 of 6 from 3-point range, oftentimes forcing tough, deep shots due to UF’s aggressive defense.
“He is a handful to defend. He’s got an ability to be in range when he crosses half-court,” Florida coach Mike White said.
“For him not to make a three was huge for us. I thought Chris and Kasey did a terrific job on Canty.”
After a two-game homestand, Florida plays at Vanderbilt on Tuesday.
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