GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Chris Chiozza scored 20 points, including 13 straight late in the first half, and No. 20 Florida used a barrage of 3-pointers to beat Baylor 81-60 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.
Jalen Hudson added 17 points for the Gators (15-6, 9-3 Southeastern Conference), who bounced back from a midweek loss to South Carolina to win for the ninth time in their last 11 games.
Florida lost that one at the 3-point line. Coach Mike White’s team handled the Bears (12-9, 0-6 Big 12) thanks mostly to a red-hot shooting performance from behind the arc.
Chiozza and Hudson led the way. Chiozza hit 4 of 7 from 3-point range, including consecutive treys during his 13-point spurt over a five-minute span in the opening 20 minutes. He also chipped in six rebounds and six assists. Hudson made 4 of 6 from behind the arc.
They got plenty of help, too.
Egor Koulechov made three 3s in the first five minutes of the game, including a banked-in shot that turned out to be an omen for what kind of day it would be for the home team. Koulechov finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
KeVaughn Allen, who chipped in 10 points, drained a 3-pointer right before the halftime buzzer. Hudson beat the shot clock with another trey and later sank back-to-back 3s that pushed Florida’s lead to 66-48 with about nine minutes to play.
The Gators finished 14 of 25 from behind the arc, the fifth most they’ve hit all season.
Baylor was 3 for 15 from 3-point range and fell to 4-1 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Bears also dropped to 25-4 against non-Big 12 teams since the start of last season.
Terry Maston led Baylor with 14 points. Mark Vital added 11. Leading scorer Manu Lecomte finished with 10 after getting into foul trouble in the first half.
Baylor: The Bears have lost three in a row for the first time since dropping five straight in January 2014. Baylor also had lost five of six this season, a huge drop-off for a team that made the Sweet 16 last year.
Florida: Senior center John Egbunu went through pre-game warmups for the second straight game and even dressed for the game for the first time all season, another sign of progress for the much-needed big man. Egbunu missed the final 10 games last year after tearing the ACL in his left knee. He began non-contact practice last week and could be a huge help in the post when he returns.
Baylor: Returns to Big 12 action Tuesday night at Oklahoma.
Florida: Resumes SEC play Tuesday night at Georgia.