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Florida opens revamped arena in style, 94-71 over UALR

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida coach Mike White didn't want his players getting wrapped up in the ''party.''

They obliged, although Devin Robinson and KeVaughn Allen ended up providing more cause for celebration.

Robinson scored 21 points, Allen added 19 and the Gators opened their revamped arena with a resounding, 94-71 victory against Arkansas-Little Rock on Wednesday night.

The Gators (9-3) hit 21 of their first 28 shots in Exactech Arena, including 8 of 13 from 3-point range, and built a 29-point lead that turned the grand opening into an early exit for Florida's starters and many of the 10,000-plus on hand.

''It was rocking in there,'' White said. ''It was fun. It was loud. And our guys fed off it from the tip. I thought our guys played with tremendous energy and confidence, and without question this new energy level because of the new arena and playing in front of our fans for the first time all season was a big factor.''

Robinson was 7-of-11 shooting, including 4 of 5 from behind the arc. Allen made 7 of 10 shots, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, and scored 13 in a row for Florida in the decisive first half.

''That got us going,'' Robinson said.

Canyon Barry chipped in 15 points for Florida, which played its first 11 games away from Gainesville. Kevarrius Hayes had 12 points, and Kasey Hill finished with 11 points and 11 assists.

''It just felt like it was everybody's night,'' Allen said.

The Gators finished with season highs in points (94), assists (20) and 3-pointers (16). They shot 59.6 percent from the field and 51.6 percent from 3-point range. It was a welcome sight for White, who was concerned his guys would get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of the team's remodeled arena, its home opener and playing around the holidays.

''This is when upsets happen in college basketball as often as any other time of year because sometimes teams are half checked out,'' he said. ''We all know that. ... Our focus was on not allowing it to be a party. This isn't a party. Let our fans party. They deserve this. This is incredible. They'll have fun. But if we're not locked in ... then we're selling ourselves short.''

The Gators spent $64.5 million to upgrade the decades-old O'Connell Center after last season, remodeling the entire inside bowl with plush seating and updated amenities. Originally scheduled to be overhauled after the 2014-15 season, it was supposed to be the ''house that Billy Donovan built.'' Instead, it ended up being the ''house that Mike White inherited.''

On Wednesday, it was the ''place where the Gators barely missed.''

Florida was shooting 75 percent until Chris Chiozza was long on a 3-pointer with 2:04 remaining in the first half. Barry followed with an air-ball 3 that brought Florida back to reality.

Still, the huge lead was too much for Little Rock to overcome, especially on the road.

Lis Shoshi led the Trojans (9-4) with 19 points.

BIG PICTURE

Florida has won two in a row since falling out of the AP Top 25 poll, a sign White's team might be ready for another shot at being ranked. But the real test will come during Southeastern Conference play.

EGBUNU OUT

Florida center John Egbunu, who is averaging 9.0 points and 7.7 rebounds, missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Hayes started in his place again and played well.

FACES IN THE CROWD

Retired coach and current Florida ambassador Steve Spurrier was among the 10,655 in attendance. So was Billy Donovan, the son of former Gators coach Billy Donovan. Florida graduate Thad Bullard, better known in the pro wrestling world as Titus O'Neil, also was on hand. So were two Florida recruits, point guard Michael Okauru and swingman Yves Pons.

UP NEXT

Little Rock follows a three-game road trip with a 10-day break before hosting Louisiana-Monroe on Dec. 31.

Florida begins Southeastern Conference play at Arkansas on Dec. 29.

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More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
+ 3 Andre Jones made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ryan Pippins 24.0
  Bad pass turnover on Chris Chiozza 53.0
  Defensive rebound by Keith Stone 1:10
  Oliver Black missed 2nd of 2 free throws 1:10
+ 1 Oliver Black made 1st of 2 free throws 1:10
  Personal foul on Chris Chiozza 1:10
+ 1 Canyon Barry made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:24
+ 1 Canyon Barry made 1st of 2 free throws 1:24
  Shooting foul on Deondre Burns 1:24
+ 2 Deondre Burns made layup 1:33
+ 2 Gorjok Gak made dunk 1:56
Team Stats
Points 71 94
Field Goals 29-58 (50.0%) 34-57 (59.6%)
3-Pointers 5-16 (31.3%) 16-31 (51.6%)
Free Throws 8-11 (72.7%) 10-13 (76.9%)
Total Rebounds 24 33
Offensive 7 9
Defensive 12 21
Team 5 3
Assists 11 20
Steals 3 8
Blocks 2 3
Turnovers 13 13
Fouls 16 13
Technicals 0 0
19 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST
21 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST
12T
away team logo Little Rock 9-4 274471
home team logo Florida 9-3 563894
Team Stats
away team logo Little Rock 9-4 74.2 PPG 36.9 RPG 14.3 APG
home team logo Florida 9-3 67.8 PPG 36.3 RPG 12.1 APG
Key Players
00
L. Shoshi F PPG RPG APG FG%
00
D. Robinson F PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
L. Shoshi F 19 PTS 4 REB 3 AST
D. Robinson F 21 PTS 7 REB 2 AST
50.0 FG% 59.6
31.3 3PT FG% 51.6
72.7 FT% 76.9
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
L. Shoshi 19 4 3 9/12 1/2 0/0 3 33 0 1 0 3 1
J. Jackson 7 4 1 2/5 0/1 3/3 2 27 1 0 2 1 3
M. Hill 7 1 1 3/6 1/1 0/0 2 20 0 0 2 1 0
M. Johnson Jr. 4 1 2 1/4 0/1 2/4 0 20 1 0 0 0 1
K. Osse 0 0 1 0/5 0/4 0/0 1 16 1 0 0 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
L. Shoshi 19 4 3 9/12 1/2 0/0 3 33 0 1 0 3 1
J. Jackson 7 4 1 2/5 0/1 3/3 2 27 1 0 2 1 3
M. Hill 7 1 1 3/6 1/1 0/0 2 20 0 0 2 1 0
M. Johnson Jr. 4 1 2 1/4 0/1 2/4 0 20 1 0 0 0 1
K. Osse 0 0 1 0/5 0/4 0/0 1 16 1 0 0 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Jones 14 3 2 6/11 2/5 0/0 1 21 0 0 3 1 2
O. Black 11 2 0 4/7 0/0 3/4 2 24 0 0 1 0 2
D. Burns 9 3 0 4/6 1/1 0/0 4 26 0 0 4 1 2
B. Marcus 0 1 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 3 0 1 0 0 1
R. Pippins 0 0 1 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 10 0 0 1 0 0
S. Billings - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Watkins - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Moorman - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Brady - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Goldman - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 71 19 11 29/58 5/16 8/11 16 200 3 2 13 7 12
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Robinson 21 7 2 7/11 4/5 3/4 1 26 0 0 1 2 5
K. Allen 19 5 3 7/10 5/7 0/0 0 26 0 0 3 2 3
K. Hayes 12 8 0 5/5 0/0 2/3 1 25 2 1 0 3 5
K. Hill 11 2 11 5/7 1/3 0/1 1 27 3 0 4 1 1
J. Leon 0 0 0 0/4 0/3 0/0 2 21 1 1 1 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Robinson 21 7 2 7/11 4/5 3/4 1 26 0 0 1 2 5
K. Allen 19 5 3 7/10 5/7 0/0 0 26 0 0 3 2 3
K. Hayes 12 8 0 5/5 0/0 2/3 1 25 2 1 0 3 5
K. Hill 11 2 11 5/7 1/3 0/1 1 27 3 0 4 1 1
J. Leon 0 0 0 0/4 0/3 0/0 2 21 1 1 1 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Barry 15 1 0 4/11 3/7 4/4 2 14 0 1 0 0 1
K. Stone 5 2 0 2/2 1/1 0/0 2 18 1 0 2 0 2
S. Rimmer 3 1 1 1/1 0/0 1/1 1 11 0 0 0 1 0
C. Chiozza 3 3 3 1/4 1/4 0/0 2 20 1 0 2 0 3
E. Hester 3 1 0 1/1 1/1 0/0 1 8 0 0 0 0 1
G. Gak 2 0 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0
J. Egbunu - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Bassett - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 94 30 20 34/57 16/31 10/13 13 200 8 3 13 9 21