Now the season begins for real.
Mike White’s Gator basketball team had little trouble dispatching Richmond in the O’Dome by a 76-56 count. The Gators’ third straight win over the Spiders came courtesy of double-doubles from Devin Robinson and John Egbunu (and a near double-double from Dorian Finney-Smith), and puts Florida at 6-1 on the season. It also gives this talented but extremely young team what appears to be their second resume-worthy victory along with St. Joe’s.
Good thing, because the road gets exponentially harder starting next week. Road trips to Miami and Michigan State, a neutral site game with Oklahoma State and home games against Jacksonville and FSU are all that separate Florida from the start of SEC play.
If the defense plays as well as it did tonight, though, the Gators will be fine.
Richmond, a team that’s known for going hot and cold at various points in the game, went ice cold for the entire first half. The Spiders went a dreadful 4-23 from the field for the game’s first 20 minutes, and the Gators were more than happy to make them pay for that on the other end of the floor, resulting in a 40-17 halftime lead. Offensively, Florida got key contributions from various sources: Kasey Hill, Dorian Finney-Smith, KeVaughn Allen and Chris Chiozza all hit threes in the first half, and when Richmond moved out to the perimeter to try to stop it, the Gators would go inside and feed John Egbunu in the paint for some dunks.
Speaking of Egbunu. Boy, is he a man. I become more and more impressed with him each time I watch him play, and even though I keep trying to tell myself to temper expectations, and that he won’t necessarily look this good against the really good teams, I can’t help but think big for him. If he learns how to shoot jumpers from the elbow, he could be very, very dangerous.
And if the Gators are able to knock down shots from the outside the way they did against the Spiders tonight, they could be, too.