Florida will continue its season-opening three-game homestand on Friday night against Kennesaw State in Gainesville, Fla.
The Gators (1-0) were successful in head coach Todd Golden’s debut Monday night, stomping Stony Brook 81-45.
The 36-point margin was the largest for a Florida coach making his debut, surpassing Tommy Bartlett, who won by 34 against Jacksonville (93-59) on Dec. 1, 1966.
Alex Fudge, a transfer from LSU, scored a career-high 16 points in his Gainesville debut. In all, 13 different players scored for the Gators as they outscored the Seawolves 35-13 in bench points.
“We played with good purpose for 40 (minutes),” Golden said. “Every guy that came in did a good job of staying within themselves and continuing to guard and rebound, which was really important.”
It will be important for the Gators to build off that performance and take some momentum into the end of the month. Florida faces rival Florida State on Nov. 18, then travel to Portland, Ore., over Thanksgiving weekend to play in the PK85 Tournament. Florida opens play in the event on Thanksgiving night against Xavier on Nov. 24.
Florida also will host UConn on Dec. 7 and face Oklahoma in the Jumpman Invitational in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 20.
“We’ll have six or seven (non-conference) games that will be highly contested games that should prepare us for the SEC,” Golden said. “I’d say it’s good for what we want to do and we’ll schedule similarly over the next several years.”
Kennesaw State (1-0) beat LaGrange 99-56 in its season opener behind 20 points from Chris Youngblood, who was 8 of 10 from the field and 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Terrell Burden added 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Youngblood and Burden are two of five returning starters from an Owls team that went 13-18 last season.
“Our ball energy was really good tonight,” Kennesaw State coach Amir Abdur-Rahim said after the LaGrange win. “We shared the ball well, defensively our ball pressure was on, to the point where we were doing what we had practiced.”
–Field Level Media