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Colin Castleton’s career day powers Florida past Kennesaw State

Florida Gators forward Alex Fudge (3) drives for the basket during the second half as Florida takes on Stoney Brook during an NCAA college basketball game at Steven C. O'Connell Center Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida won 81-45.(Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun)

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Credit: Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

Colin Castleton scored a career-high 33 points as Florida pulled away late to beat Kennesaw State 88-78 Gainesville, Fla.

Will Richard added 15 for the Gators (2-0) and Kowacie Reeves sank a pair of timely 3-pointers in the second half to finish with 11 points.

Chris Youngblood led Kennesaw State (1-1) with 20 points with Terrell Burden adding 12 points.

Burden sank a jumper with 6:20 remaining to cut Florida’s lead to 73-64, but the Gators answered with a 7-0 run, with a Reeves 3-pointer putting Florida up 80-64 with 4:47 remaining.

Castleton went 12 of 18 from the floor and 9 of 13 from the foul line as Florida fed the 6-11 All-SEC standout early and often. He added 9 rebounds and 3 assists in another solid all-around floor game. Florida shot 54.5 percent from the field, its second straight game shooting 50 percent or better on the season, and went 36.4 percent (4-11) from 3-point range.

Castleton scored 19 points in the first half, helping Florida build a 44-34 halftime lead. The Gators shot 53.3 percent from the field in the first half, while holding Kennesaw State to 34.2 percent shooting from the floor.

Down 12-8 early, Florida went on a 17-2 run, which included six points from Castleton, to go up 25-14. Florida outscored Kennesaw State 30-16 in the paint in the first half, going inside to Castleton, C.J. Felder and Alex Fudge.

Florida led by as many as 14 points in the first half, going up 36-22 on a three-point play by Felder with 3:24 left in the half. But Kennesaw State got back to back 3-pointers from Kasen Jennings and Quincy Ademokoya to close the half, cutting Florida’s lead to 44-34 at halftime.

Florida starting point guard Kyle Lofton fouled out at the 12:21 mark of the second half after getting whistled for a technical from crew chief Rob Rorke. Lofton picked up two fouls within the first four minutes of the game but still played 16 first-half minutes. He finished with 9 points and 2 assists.

–Field Level Media