Strong offensive effort helps Florida beat Temple 86-69
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—Sophomore Marreese Speights matched a career high with 20 points Saturday night, and the Florida Gators shot 61 percent to beat Temple 86-69 in the second game of an Orange Bowl Classic doubleheader.
Winthrop won the first game, beating the No. 19-ranked Miami Hurricanes, 76-70.
Two-time defending national champion Florida improved to 12-2, tying the school record for victories before New Year’s set in 2005 and tied last year. The Gators have won nine consecutive games in the Orange Bowl Classic.
Dionte Christmas scored 32 points but was the only player in double figures for Temple, which fell to 6-6.
The Gators have struggled offensively against good teams and scored only 49 points in a loss at Ohio State last week. But they took the lead for good five minutes into the game and kept it by shooting 63 percent in the second half, when they scored 49 points.
Sophomore Jonathan Mitchell went 6-for-6 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line for a career-high 15 points to lead a strong effort by the Florida bench, which contributed 29 points.
Florida’s Nick Calathes scored 14 points, and Walter Hodge and Chandler Parsons had 12 apiece. Parsons added eight rebounds for the Gators, who had a 37-21 advantage on the boards.
Speights played only 24 minutes but shot 7-for-10 and made all six of his free throws.
The Gators scored nine consecutive points for a 22-12 lead. Temple cut the margin to 37-34 at the half.
Two 3-pointers by Mitchell and one by Calathes helped the Gators score 10 consecutive points to put them ahead 61-45, and they led by at least 10 the rest of the way.
The Gators went 11-for-20 from 3-point range. They were 4-for-23 at Ohio State.