Koulechov shines in debut with Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Egor Koulechov scored 34 points, hitting six 3-pointers in his Florida debut, to lead the eighth-ranked Gators to a 116-74 victory against Gardner-Webb in the team’s season opener Monday night.
Koulechov, a graduate transfer from Rice, broke the school record for most points in a debut. Tom Baxley held the previous mark, scoring
32 points against Rick Barry and Miami in 1962. Florida ended up losing that game after Baxley fouled out in overtime.
Koulechov and the Gators had no issues against Gardner-Webb (0-2). Koulechov added five rebounds and five assists.
Florida hit 10 3-pointers in the first half, including five by Koulechov. He drained consecutive treys from the corner to put the Gators up
34-19 early. The newcomer nicknamed “Threegor” had 23 points at the break.
Koulechov is a key addition in coach Mike White’s third season, one that began with high expectations after the Gators finished one victory short of making the Final Four in March.
Koulechov, KeVaughn Allen, senior Chris Chiozza and Virginia Tech transfer Jalen Hudson give the Gators their deepest backcourt in years — and enough outside shooting to make them a threat every game.
Chiozza, who sprained his left shoulder in an exhibition game 11 days ago, came off the bench Monday night and looked far from rusty.
Hudson chipped in 16 points, and freshman Mike Okauru added 13.
DJ Laster led the Runnin’ Bulldogs with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Gators dominated every aspect of the game and opened up a 40-point lead midway through the second half.
Florida coasted from there and won its 27th consecutive opener.
12-Cincinnati 102, Western Carolina 51
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Sophomore Jarron Cumberland scored 20 points for the second time in his career, and Cincinnati’s fullcourt pressure forced 22 turnovers Monday night as the 12th-ranked Bearcats pulled away to a victory over Western Carolina.
Cincinnati (2-0) won its 28th straight home game — a streak that spans two arenas — with the type of defense that’s been the program’s hallmark. The Bearcats allowed 77 points during an opening win over Savannah State, making defense a point of emphasis.
Western Carolina (0-2) rarely got an uncontested shot and had trouble getting the ball up the court against Cincinnati’s trapping defense, which had 11 steals.
Kyle Washington added 14 points and seven rebounds for Cincinnati, which had four players in double figures. Matt Halvorsen led Western Carolina with 15 points.
The Bearcats are playing this season at BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University while their on-campus arena is renovated. They went 18-0 at Fifth Third Arena last season.
13-Notre Dame 88, Mount St. Mary’s 62
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Bonzie Colson had 27 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks while No.
13 Notre Dame shook off a choppy opening half to roll past Mount St. Mary’s in the Irish’s home opener Monday night.
It was the 25th career double-double of his career. Rex Pflueger added his first with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Matt Farrell chipped in 12 points and five assists as ND improved to 18-0 in home debuts under coach Mike Brey.
Colson, an Associated Press preseason All-American, went 11-of-15 from the field and
4-of-4 at the line.
Junior Robinson, the Mountaineers’ 5-foot-5 senior guard, led the visitors with 14 points, but had just two after halftime. Freshman Bobby Planutis added 11 points and seven boards.
The Irish led just 40-32 at the intermission, but scored the first 14 points of the second half to seize control. They trailed 23-20 before going
on an 11-0 run ignited by Colson’s offensive-rebound slam at the 5:56 mark.
Plueger added back-to-back steals for baskets as part of the spurt and Notre Dame never relinquished the lead.
14-Minnesota 86 Providence 74
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Jordan Murphy had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and No 15 Minnesota outlasted Providence 86-74 on Monday night.
Murphy scored 15 points in the second half, leading the Gophers back from a threepoint halftime deficit. Nate Mason added 17 points and Amir Coffey finished with 15.
The Gophers tied it up 55-55 in the second half, then used a 23-11 run to take control.
Minnesota had just six assists on 30 made baskets, but they made up for it by dominating on the inside. The Gophers outscored Providence
40-26 in the paint and held a
38-31 rebounding edge. Kyron Cartwright and Nate Watson led the Friars with 12 points apiece.
NOT TODAY: Gardner-Webb guard David Efianayi (11) has his shot blocked by Florida center Gorjok Gak (12) during the first half of Monday’s game in Gainesville, Fla..