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Florida blasts Savannah State, 76-34

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Savannah State got way behind early - and never recovered.

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And it didn't matter how many substitutions coach Horace Broadnax made.

The Tigers used 14 players, but got little production from any of them in a 76-34 loss at No. 13 Florida on Sunday.

It was Savannah State's ninth consecutive loss and its worst of the season.

''Florida has their way,'' Broadnax said. ''Obviously, we have to focus on what we're trying to get accomplished. We're in the MEAC and that's where we're going to have our success and look for our rewards. ... It wasn't too much a lack of effort on our part. We just weren't able to make it interesting.''

Jyles Smith led the Tigers (2-11) with eight points and eight rebounds.

The Tigers, who play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, shot 24.5 percent from the field, were outrebounded 42-30 and finished with 20 turnovers and six assists. The undersized team gave up 32 points in the paint, 32 points off turnovers and had seven shots blocked.

''We just tried to compete at a high level,'' Broadnax said. ''It gave us an opportunity to compete against a very special team that got us outside our comfort zone. We just have to take this game and try to learn from it.''

The Gators dominated from the opening tip, getting any shot they wanted from anywhere on the court.

Florida used two double-digit runs to make the game a rout, outscoring Savannah State 12-0 early and then 14-0 a few minutes later. The Tigers went 5:47 without a basket before enduring an 8:12 scoreless stretch.

Florida led 34-11 at halftime and coasted from there.

It was a different feeling for the Gators, who had eight days off after a brutal stretch that included games against Florida State, then-No. 12 Connecticut, then-No. 13 Kansas, then-No. 15 Memphis and Fresno State. It marked the first time in coach Billy Donovan's 18 seasons in Gainesville that Florida played consecutive non-conference teams ranked in the top 15.

The only thing worth watching in the second half was senior center Patric Young's countdown to 1,000 career points.

He had eight points in the first half and needed only four more to reach the milestone.

Young got a layup on Florida's second possession after the break and then went nearly 10 minutes without another shot. As he stepped to the free throw line, the crowd knew what was at stake.

So did Young.

He smiled after making the first one, which put him at 999 points, but grimaced as the second free throw came up short.

No worries, though. He crashed the boards for his sixth rebound a short time later and topped 1,000 points with a tip-in. Donovan took him out at the next timeout.

Young finished with 15 points, one of four Florida players in double figures.

''I've just been very fortunate to be on winning teams and to be here overall under coach Donovan,'' Young said. ''I couldn't walk and chew gum when I first got here. So I can do a few more things now. I just want to thank him for believing in me and helping me get better.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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