Florida completed its pre-conference schedule Monday night with a victory over Rhode Island, heading…
Florida Ends Xavier's 30-Game Home Win Streak
Playing on New Year's Eve for the first time since 1968, the Gators led by as many as 15 in the second half (50-35 with 13:20 to play), before Xavier (8-4) cut the lead to five (60-55) with a little over two minutes remaining. After trading baskets to make the game 66-61 with 30 seconds left in the game, Walker connected on four-straight free throw attempts to seal the victory for Florida.
For the game, UF made a season-high 46.2 percent (6-of-13 3FG) of their attempts from three-point range. The Gators shot a blazing 83.3 percent (5-of-6 3FG) from downtown in the second half after shooting just 14.3 percent (1-of-7 3FG) in the first half. The Orange and Blue outshot the Musketeers overall, 45.1 percent (23-of-51 FG) to 40.3 percent (25-of-62), and improved to 9-1 this year when shooting better than its opponent. Florida outrebounded XU, 39-31, while also sinking eight more free throws than the home team (19-11).
The Gators spent the first half going to the paint, with Macklin and Tyus combining for nine of UF's 12 field goals, scoring 20 of the Gators' 31 first-half points. Both teams shot almost identical in the first half, with UF shooting 41.4 percent from the field on 12-of-29 shooting, and the Musketeers shooting 37.9 percent on 11-of-29 shooting. Xavier stayed in the game with its bench, outscoring Florida's bench by nine (13-4) in the first 20 minutes of action.
Xavier, which was 65-3 at home over the last five years, was led by guard Tu Holloway, who scored a game-high 26 points (9-of-18 FG, 6-of-7 FT) and dished out a team-best six assists.
With the win, Florida head coach Billy Donovan picked up his 341st win at UF, moving him into sole possession of third place in SEC history for wins as an SEC head coach. The triumph also gave the Gators their first-ever victory over Xavier (1-2), while snapping a three-game losing streak against the Atlantic-10 Conference.
The Gators return to the court this Monday as they host Rhode Island at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU at 9 p.m. ET.
Courtesy UF Sports Information
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