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Chris Chiozza scores 20 as No. 20 Florida routs Baylor

By Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel
Published: January 27, 2018 Updated: January 27, 2018 at 09:08 PM
Florida guard Jalen Hudson (3) drives between Baylor forward Mark Vital (11) and guard Tyson Jolly (10) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. Florida won 81-60. (AP Photo/Ron Irby) GVP110

GAINESVILLE ó Florida point guard Chris Chiozza was feeling it, so he went with the flow.

A pass-first point guard by nature, Chiozza decided to stay aggressive as a scorer and see what happened.

The Gators were glad he did.

Chiozza finished the 20th-ranked Gatorsí 81-60 rout of Baylor on Saturday with 20 points, including a pivotal five-minute stretch in which he scored 13 straight for UF.

The teamís senior star did not even realize the extent of his solo run, but he knew he was in a zone.

"Normally I hit one, I hit a couple," he said. "So once I hit two, I said, ĎIím just going to come down and shoot another one, and see what happens.í And they went in, so I was like, ĎAll right, I might shoot some more.í

"I was just out there playing, and it just felt good when I had the ball in my hands."

Good things usually happen for the Gators (15-6) when the ball is in the hands of Chiozza, who continues to build a strong case for SEC player of the year honors.

Chiozza not only led four Gators in double figures, he chipped in six rebounds and six assists while committing just one turnover during 30 minutes on the court in the Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup. He also defended Baylor guard and leading scorer Manu Lecomte, who finished with 10 points.

"Chris Chiozza was amazing," UF coach Mike White said. "I canít imagine heís had a better game than that. He put on a show (Saturday).

"He was fantastic."

Baylor coach Scott Drew said his game plan to curtail Chiozzaís impact as a distributor backfired on the struggling Bears (12-9) and allowed the Gatorsí 6-foot, 175-pound dynamo to showcase his complete game.

"We tried to take away his passing and he got us with our shooting," Drew lamented. "Heís one of the best point guards in the country. When heís scoring on top of his facilitating, he goes to another level."

Chiozza, though, was far from a one-man show.

Coming off a surprising home loss to South Carolina, UF ended the day with 14 3-pointers on 25 attempts after shooting just 12-of-53 from beyond the arc during the past two games.

"When weíre shooting like that, itís hard to beat us," senior shooting guard Egor Koulechov said.