Florida overwhelms Jacksonville 79-34, wins 3rd straight
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Dorian Finney-Smith's hand is feeling much better.
And it's showing on the court.
Finney-Smith scored a career-high 25 points, Michael Frazier II added a season-best 22 and Florida overwhelmed Jacksonville 79-34 on Sunday.
The Gators (6-4) never trailed, won their third consecutive game and made a season-high 13 3-pointers. Finney-Smith and Frazier had 11 of those.
Finney-Smith, who missed two games last month because of broken bones in his non-shooting hand, made 5 of 7 treys. Frazier made 6 of 11.
Frazier has been one of the nation's best long-range shooters the last two years, so this was nothing new. But for Finney-Smith, this was a breakout game, especially given his injury. He made 10 of 15 shots, including a spinning layup that put the Gators ahead 64-33 with 7:33 remaining.
''I'm feeling real good right now,'' he said. ''I finished with my left (hand) today. I think that's the first time I've finished with my left since the beginning of the season, so I consider it getting better.''
The Southeastern Conference's Sixth Man of the Year last season, Finney-Smith has made a smooth transition into the starting lineup. But his hand injury left him playing in pain and kept him from being fully effective. He went three straight games without topping double digits, but as his hand healed, he started to look much more like his usual self.
The former Virginia Tech standout has scored 14, 11 and now 25 in Florida's last three games. Maybe more telling, he's been able to crash the backboards and get 18 rebounds in the same span.
''Every day that goes by, it gets a little better,'' coach Billy Donovan said. ''I think he can feel a difference. I know playing with that brace on is not the easiest thing for him, but at least he's moving to a point of being healthier each day. ... Hopefully moving into January he'll be completely healed by then.''
Florida was at its best at the end of the first half and throughout the second. Finney-Smith's bank shot capped a 16-7 run to close the first 20 minutes. He scored five of the first seven points after the break, helping ignite a 22-4 run that turned a 10-point game into a rout.
The Gators finished 13 of 27 from behind the arc.
Jon Horford was the only other Florida player in double figures, scoring 12 points to go with eight rebounds.
Kori Babineaux had 10 points to pace Jacksonville (2-9), which lost its fifth straight game.
''They're big, they're strong, they're athletic and extremely well coached,'' Jacksonville coach Tony Jasick said.
The Dolphins were coming off a seven-day break because of final exams and played well early. They used a 7-0 run to make it a one-point game, 18-17, on Babineaux's driving layup. But Florida pulled away from there and outscored Jacksonville 45-10 in the second half.
''We moved the ball and shots just went in,'' Frazier said. ''Coach challenged us to come out with more passion and more fire in the second half and play to our standard, and we did that. The result took care of itself.''
Jacksonville: The Dolphins fell to 5-31 in the series, including 1-22 in the O'Dome during Donovan's tenure. ... Jacksonville was 4-of-25 shooting (16 percent) in the second half.
Florida: Won't play at home again until 2015. The Gators will be away from the O'Connell Center for 20 days, with their next home game coming Jan. 3 against defending national champion UConn. ... Chris Walker, who averaged 12.3 points the previous three games, finished with two against Jacksonville.
Florida point guard Kasey Hill wasn't in the starting lineup because of a stomach virus. Hill missed the morning shoot-around, but was able to play 21 minutes in the game. He finished with two points and three assists. Freshman Chris Chiozza made his first career start.
Jacksonville hosts Gardner-Webb on Wednesday.
Florida plays Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl Classic on Saturday.