GAINESVILLE (AP) — Dorian Finney-Smith scored 15 points, Michael Frazier II added 12 and No. 7 Florida opened the season with a 68-45 victory over William & Mary on Friday night.
Michigan transfer Jon Horford chipped in 11 points for the Gators, who won their 24th consecutive season opener and improved to 19-0 on opening night under coach Billy Donovan.
Florida dominated every aspect of the game and even played solid defense. Donovan said this week his team wasn’t “remotely close” to deserving its lofty ranking because of defensive inconsistency. He added that the Gators had a “long, long, long way” to go to match last year’s Final Four team on that end of the floor.
The Gators held William & Mary to 26 percent shooting, including 2-of-22 from behind the 3-point line. Omar Prewitt led the Tribe with 15 points. Marcus Thornton added 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting. The preseason Colonial Athletic Association player of the year, Thornton missed all five shots from behind the arc.
Florida, which won 30 consecutive games and went undefeated in Southeastern Conference play last season, lost starters Casey Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete and Patric Young.
Donovan is counting on Finney-Smith, Frazier, Eli Carter and Kasey Hill to take on bigger roles.
Finney-Smith and Frazier did their part against William & Mary.
Finney-Smith, the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year last season, was 5-of-9 shooting despite playing much of the game with his left wrist heavily taped. Donovan said Finney-Smith would have X-rays after the game. Frazier was 5-of-12, including 2-of-6 from 3-point range. Both had five rebounds apiece.
The Gators led by as many as 24 in the first half and were up 65-40 when Donovan emptied the bench with 2:06 remaining. Freshman walk-on Zach Hodskins, who was born without a left hand, got the loudest ovation. He missed his only shot in the closing seconds.
Another walk-on, Jacob Kurtz, finished with six points and seven rebounds off the bench.
The Gators used just seven scholarship players most of the night. They had one player suspended, one out for the season with a knee injury, one out for the season because for academics and two more sitting out under NCAA transfer rules.
William & Mary: The Tribe fell to 4-17 all-time against teams from the Southeastern Conference. … It was William & Mary’s first visit to the Sunshine State since winning at North Florida in 2007.
Florida: Highly touted big man Chris Walker missed the game. The 6-foot-10 sophomore was suspended for the first two games of the regular season for violating team rules. … Duke transfer Alex Murphy, the younger brother of former Florida starter Erik Murphy, also sat out. He will be eligible after the fall semester, meaning he will miss 10 games.
Williams & Mary hosts Howard on Tuesday.
Florida hosts Miami on Monday.
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