GAINESVILLE — For starters, it wasn't bad at all.
That was Florida coach Billy Donovan's assessment after the Gators won their opener Friday night, 80-58 over Toledo in the Gainesville regional round of the CBE Classic.
The Gators have won 18 straight openers, 13 under Donovan.
"I thought our guys came out and played really hard," Donovan said. "I definitely thought there were some first-game jitters, and a lot of times that shows up in the way you shoot the ball."
Florida shot 3-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half, but it led 39-27 at halftime, thanks to a late-half scoring run. Leading 28-25 with 3:32 left. Florida went on an 11-2 run. That run was aided by three 3-pointers, after UF missed its first eight.
The Gators took control early in the second half, opening with a 17-4 run.
Neither team could get into an offensive rhythm early; the first half was stalled by 27 total personal fouls. But the Gators settled down and shot 59.3 percent in the second half. For a team that struggled defensively last season, Florida put together an impressive press most of the game, forcing Toledo into 25 turnovers that led to 29 Gator points.
"We pressed some last year, but I think we're in pretty good shape as a team, and I think that's what we're going to do this year, start off with the hard press," said junior forward Chandler Parsons, who had eight points and four rebounds. "And if it's effective, we'll be doing it 40 minutes in the game. It really helped us offensively tonight."
Forward Dan Werner led the Gators with 19 points, one shy of his career high.
"He did a great job for us," Donovan said. "He was our catalyst."
UF hosts Bradley at 2:15 p.m. Sunday in the tournament's second round.
Antonya English can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.