FINAL: FLORIDA 80, EAST TENNESSEE STATE 65
ORLANDO, FL- The Florida Gators played their first NCAA tournament game since 2014 on Thursday. Florida earned a four-seed and the right to play in a de-facto home game in Orlando against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers.
The Gators were one of the teams most talked about by analysts as being on “upset alert.” But this Florida team was having none of that. Florida started the game hot with a 14-6 lead and a 24-16 lead less than eleven minutes into the game. The Buccaneers came back and eventually got to within one point of Florida.
ETSU did take the lead in the early seconds of the second half. Justin Leon made a three-point shot with 17:32 to play that put Florida on top 38-37. Florida would never trail gain.
Devin Robinson led the Gators in scoring with 24 points, which tied his career high. Chris Chiozza and Kasey Hill each added 14 points. Kevarrius Hayes scored 7 points, grabbed 7 rebounds (4 offensive), recorded a school NCAA tournament record 6 steals, and blocked two ETSU shots.
Canyon Barry and KeVaughn Allen also added 7 points, Allen’s all came in the second half. Gorjok Gak received playing time in the first half, scoring four points despite missing both of his free-throw attempts. Leon finished the game with 3 points and 4 rebounds.
ETSU was led by TJ Cromer who scored 19 points. The only other Buccaneer in double figures in scoring was David Burrell who finished with 11.
Florida head coach Mike White gets his first NCAA tournament win as a coach in his first appearance.
Florida will play Virginia on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Virginia defeated UNC-Wilmington earlier on Thursday 76-71.
- ETSU: 27-8
- FLORIDA: 25-8
FLORIDA VS VIRGINIA
NCAA TOURNAMENT – SECOND ROUND
AMWAY CENTER, ORLANDO, FLORIDA