GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Kerry Blackshear Jr. and Keyontae Johnson scored 21 points apiece and Florida overwhelmed Long Beach State 102-63 on Saturday in the team's final tuneup before Southeastern Conference play.
Noah Locke chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds — his first double-double — for the Gators. Freshman Omar Payne, starting in place of Scottie Lewis (concussion), also nearly accomplished the feat. He finished with 11 points and nine boards.
The Gators (8-4) scored the first 14 points, led by as many as 30 in the opening half and were up 44 with 8 minutes remaining.
The Beach (4-11) lost for the seventh time in eight games and seemed overmatched from the opening tip, no surprise given it was a 9 a.m. start based on their body clocks. Florida shot 53 percent from the field, made 12 of 30 shots from 3-point range and notched season highs in 3s and assists (19).
Andrew Nembhard finished with a career-high 13 assists and just one turnover.
The easy victory had to be a much-needed confidence boost for Florida, which has been up and down through the first two months of the season. Coach Mike White revamped the offense following early season losses to Florida State and UConn, and then got a couple of extended breaks for final exams and Christmas to hone the tweaks.
It's hard to tell how much those changes were a factor against Long Beach State, which has lost 10 games by double digits this season.
Chance Hunter led the Beach with 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting.
Long Beach State: The Beach was picked to finish sixth in the Big West and might have better luck in conference play. But its been mostly overmatched against bigger programs like Stanford, Arizona, Wake Forest and now Florida.
Florida: The Gators are still trying to figure out their revamped offense and will get a much better feel for how they stack up when the SEC schedule begins next week.
Long Beach State: Hosts Cal State Los Angeles next Saturday, the team's final tuneup before beginning play in the Big West.
Florida: Opens SEC play next Saturday at home against Alabama.
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