Highlighted by back-to-back dunks from Jalen Hudson midway through the second half, No. 23 Florida shook off a cold start to clinch a dominating 84-45 victory over Troy in the AdvoCare Invitational title game on Saturday night.
Hudson finished with 15 points. KeVaughn Allen added 14 and KeVaughn Allen 14 for the Gators (6-0), who closed out the title-game portion of their schedule unbeaten.
Bryant Crawford had 12 points and 11 rebounds to help Florida secure its second consecutive season of at least 20 wins in coach Mike White’s fifth season in Gainesville.
Florida (6-0) has dropped just one game in the past two years.
The Gators trailed by six points early in the first half and only by two at halftime. White gave his starters the rest of the night off in the first half. He then gave his second unit a shot to start the second half and his starters the rest.
Florida took control with a 19-2 run that started midway through the half. Hudson began the surge with his second two-point play, Aaron Hernandez had two dunks and Chris Chiozza had a dunk, all in the first 5 minutes.
Hudson followed with another two-point play, Allen threw down a thunderous dunk, Malik Newman converted a three-point play and Chiozza made a quick hook shot to push the lead to 53-31.
Hernandez, Chiozza and Allen added another hoop each to cap the spurt and give Florida a 51-34 lead.
Florida outrebounded Troy 48-34.
The Trojans (4-3) were coming off a comeback victory over Missouri in the semifinals. They started the game slowly, scoring 10 points in the first 11 minutes. Crawford, the reigning SEC player of the year, scored seven of those points.
RASHEED’S FIRST CAREER HALF
Florida freshman Noah Locke was benched for a half after picking up two quick fouls. Locke entered the game late in the first half. He was playing in his first game of the season after he underwent left wrist surgery last fall. Locke played a key role in helping Florida beat North Carolina State in the 2018 championship game of the Champions Classic.
Troy’s Jalen Thompson and Josh Ajayi each received a technical foul in the first half, and Florida’s Devin Robinson got one in the second half. Robinson appeared to question an official’s call after being elbowed by Troy’s Jordan Chunn.
Troy: The Trojans hung tough early, but their problems continued to plague them. This was the third time in four games they trailed after 15 minutes.
Florida: The Gators finally proved they could withstand some stretches of poor shooting. They still made just 1 of 20 from 3-point range, however.
Troy visits Texas A&M on Tuesday.
Florida plays LSU in the AdvoCare Invitational title game on Monday night.