It’s safe to say No. 25 Florida is officially back on track now.
After snapping a two-game losing skid with a program-record 19 3-pointers and an utterly dominating win at LSU earlier this week, the Gators backed it up with an equally impressive 84-52 win over Oklahoma on Saturday in Norman, Okla., as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
The Gators (16-5) used an 18-4 run to close the first half while building a 43-28 halftime lead and the outcome was never in doubt the rest of the way.
It was their second straight win by at least 32 points after thumping LSU, 106-71, in Baton Rouge, La., on Wednesday.
Sophomore center Kevarrius Hayes had the best game of his career Saturday, breaking out for career-highs of 20 points and 9 rebounds.
Veteran guard Canyon Barry returned to action after missing one game with a sprained ankle and immediately made his impact felt, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the first half. Point guard Kasey Hill added 12 points and 8 assists with just 1 turnover and forward Devin Robinson finished with 13 points.
And the Gators simply controlled the game in every way possible, finishing with a 50-39 rebounding edge, a 20-9 advantage on second-chance points, a 39-16 difference in bench points and a 13-6 margin on points off turnovers.
Oklahoma fell to 8-12 with the loss.
Player of the game: Kevarrius Hayes
The sophomore center was sensational, leading Florida with those 20 points and 9 rebounds to set career-highs in both categories. He finished 7-of-11 from the field and 6-of-9 from the free throw line.
Hayes’ previous career-best scoring output was 14 points, which he did twice last season. He hadn’t scored more than 12 in any game this season. After entering the week with only two double-digit scoring games in 2016-17, he has doubled that total after dropping in 12 earlier this week at LSU.
Florida had a 25-24 lead before creating some significant separation over the final 6 minutes of the first half with an 18-4 run.
Hayes scored 9 points during that spurt, including 4 straight to start it, and Barry closed the first half by drawing a foul from beyond the arc and tossing in all 3 free throws for that 43-28 halftime lead.
Key stat line
The Gators shut down Oklahoma’s offensive focal point, senior guard Jordan Woodard, who came into the day averaging 17.3 points per game.
On Saturday, he finished scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting while playing only 14 minutes.
The Sooners depend so much on his offensive production and couldn’t overcome his struggles in this one.
What’s next for Gators
Florida returns home to host Missouri on Thursday. The Tigers are mired at the bottom of the SEC standings and came into their game Saturday evening 5-14 overall and 0-7 in the league.
They are led by forwards Jordan Barnett (12.5 points, 6.8 rebounds per game) and Kevin Puryear (11.8/6.6).
Florida-Oklahoma box score