Florida routs North Carolina A&T 104-54 in home opener
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida coach Mike White's home debut was about as close to perfect as he could have expected.
Devin Robinson and DeVon Walker scored 15 points apiece, leading six Florida players in double figures, and the Gators beat North Carolina A&T 104-54 on Monday night.
Dorian Finney-Smith added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Gators (2-0), who won their 25th consecutive home opener.
It was the first game in the O'Connell Center for White, who replaced longtime coach Billy Donovan in May.
''I don't care what the scored turned out to be, I was proud of the effort we showed up with tonight as far as our intensity level from the jump,'' White said. ''I thought we came out with a lot of energy, and throughout the 40 minutes, we played very, very unselfishly, especially with a big lead in the second half. That's not always easy to do.''
White's team looked considerably more comfortable in its second game of the season. The Gators had 19 turnovers in their season opener at Navy, but finished with 13 against the overmatched Aggies (0-2).
John Egbunu (13), Chris Chiozza (11) and Brandone Francis-Ramirez (10) also reached double figures for Florida.
''Everybody had fun and it was unselfish,'' said Walker, who missed last season following knee surgery. ''I think that's more important than everybody scoring.''
Bruce Beckford led North Carolina A&T with 16 points, and Sam Hunt added 13.
The Gators dominated every aspect of the matchup, shooting 53.6 percent from the field, hitting 15 of 29 shots from 3-point range and outrebounding the Aggies 51-27. They also forced 16 turnovers and scored 29 points off those.
''Their pressure took us off rhythm,'' North Carolina A&T coach Cy Alexander said. ''We had to try to take the lesser of two evils and hopefully force them to shoot from outside. Tonight, in their own gym, they shot the ball exceptionally well.''
It was Florida's 15th 50-point win in program history. The last one came in 2010, also against North Carolina A&T.
With the latest victory, Florida improved to 26-0 against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
''We moved the ball, played together and pushed the ball and got out in transition, that's how we want to play,'' Finney-Smith said. ''Tonight we just made shots. It's a lot of fun, especially when the bench is into it and the crowd's into it and everybody's excited. Dunks, alley-oops, 3s, it's always fun.''
Florida scored 52 points in each half and allowed 27 in each half.
Florida center Schuyler Rimmer scored nine points in 10 minutes, most of them in the closing minutes. Rimmer was 4-of-6 shooting and hit his lone 3-pointer, giving what sparse crowd remaining something to cheer about.
North Carolina A&T: After failing to have anyone score in double figures against Purdue, the Aggies had two reach the mark at Florida. ... North Carolina A&T finished 4-of-16 shooting from 3-point range, a big improvement after failing to hit one from behind the arc against the Boilermakers.
Florida: Junior college transfer Justin Leon made his season debut after missing the opener with a knee injury. ... Gators played their second game without forward Alex Murphy, who injured his right foot in an exhibition game. ... Florida's point guards, Chiozza and Kasey Hill, combined for 13 assists and three turnovers.
North Carolina A&T hosts Roanoke College on Wednesday.
Florida plays Saint Joseph's in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic in Philadelphia on Saturday.