GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The No. 1 ranked Florida Gators won their 21st straight game and 31st in a row at home, extending both school records, while handing the LSU Tigers a 79-61 defeat on Saturday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
The win brought the Gators (27-2, 16-0) one step closer to the first 18-0 finish in Southeastern Conference history.
Kentucky had a trio of 16-0 teams. There have been 14 teams finish the SEC schedule unbeaten since the 1932-33 season.
Florida also set a school record for the best start to a season. The 2007 national title team started 26-2. The Gators are also trying to secure their first No. 1 seed since ’07.
LSU (17-11, 8-8) was dealt a blow to any NCAA tourney at-large berth hopes. The Tigers had one of their worst offensive showing of the season, not getting untracked until the Gators had the game well at hand.
Florida hit 13 of 23 shots behind the arc, the most 3-pointers this season.
Forward Dorian Finney-Smith led the Gators with 16 points, hitting half of his 3-point attempts. Forward Casey Prather and guard Michael Frazier had 14 each. Frazier made four of six attempts behind the arc. Guard Scottie Wilbekin was also in double figures for the Gators with 11
Forward Johnny O’Bryant III had 18 to lead LSU.
Florida led 41-25 at halftime behind 55.6 percent shooting (15 of 27).
Florida scored the first eight points as LSU had three turnovers and a missed shot in its first four possessions.
O’Bryant III, averaging 15.5 points a contest, was held in check; he didn’t score in the first 10 minutes.
At the same time, the Gators had seven players score. They built a 21-9 lead after a layup by forward Chris Walker with 10:44 left.
O’Bryant’s first bucket and a 3-pointer by forward Shavon Coleman cut the deficit to 21-14. But Florida Frazier’s second 3-pointer pushed the lead back to 10.
LSU came into the game ranked third in the SEC in scoring offense (77.3 points a contest) and fourth in field goal percentage (45.2), but was held to one of its worst first-half efforts of the year (32.1 percent shooting).
NOTES: The 25 points were the Tigers’ second fewest in a first half; they scored just 24 against Tennessee. … Florida’s 1989 team, which won the school’s first SEC regular season title, was honored at halftime. … LSU came into the game 3-14 vs. No. 1 teams.
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