GAINESVILLE -- Top-ranked Florida scored the first eight points of the game, took a double digit lead in the opening nine minutes and went to extend its current winning streak to 21 straight with a 79-61 win against LSU today.
The Gators (27-2 overall, 16-0 in the SEC) also set records for their best start in school history overall and in SEC play while extending their record home winning streak to 31 in a row. Florida plays at South Carolina on Tuesday then end the regular season by hosting Kentucky next Saturday in a bid to become the first team in league history to ever go 18-0.
Kentucky had three teams finish 16-0. There have been a total of 14 teams since the 1932-33 season go unbeaten in SEC play.
Florida hit 13 of 23 shots behind the arc, a season-high for 3-pointers. Four players finished in double figures for the Gators, led by Dorian Finney-Smith’s 16. Michael Frazier and Casey Prather had 14 each and Scottie Wilbekin totaled 11.
Johnny O’Bryant III led LSU with 18 points but was shut out in the first 10 minutes of the game.
LSU (17-11, 8-8) suffered a major blow to its hopes of getting an NCAA Tournament bid. The win gets Florida closer to a No. 1 seed for the first time since 2007 -- the second of back-to-back national championship seasons.
The Tigers trailed 41-25 at the half, their second-worst offensive output in a half this season -- scoring 24 in the first half of a loss to Tennessee. The SEC’s third-leading scoring offense (averaging 77.3 points coming into the game) shot just 32.1` percent from the field in the first 20 minutes and turned the ball over nine times.
LSU leading scorer O’Bryant III (15.5 average coming in) was held scoreless in the first 10-plus minutes of the game. The Tigers got within 21-14 on a Shavon Coleman 3-pointer but Florida responded with an 11-0 run to take LSU out of it.
Eight different players scored in the first half for the Gators.
In the second half, Florida took a 52-30 lead on a 3-pointer by Finney-Smith 3-pointer with 16:76 to play. LSU couldn’t battle its way back from there. the Gators missed just six shots in the first 10 minutes of the second half and four were from behind the arc.