It was pretty obvious right away who the better team was in this game. The Florida Gators jumped on the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos early and never let up, emptying the bench in a 79-51 win and getting some valuable rest for their key players before Saturday’s third-round matchup.
Florida led by as many as 34 points in the second half, and were clearly deeper and more talented than the Gauchos. Chandler Parsons had a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. He also had seven rebounds and might have collected a rare collegiate triple-double if coach Billy Donovan hadn’t pulled his starters long before the final buzzer. Erving Walker led the Gators with 18 points, and Kenny Boynton added 13.
UC Santa Barbara had two key players — Orlando Johnson, who led all scorers with 21 points, and James Nunnally, who had 12. But the rest of the Gaucho roster only added 18, and the team shot just 36% from the field.
The Gators now wait for the result of tonight’s nightcap between Michigan State and UCLA to see who they will play Saturday afternoon.