NEW YORK — For the better part of two hours, Mike White had witnessed the kind of outclassing that makes coaches rethink their career paths.
And when it was over, he was sheepish. Borderline speechless, really.
Not because he was embarrassed by his team’s performance. Rather, he was proud of the complete, 40-minute effort they put forth.
“It was one of those games,” White said after Florida routed Providence 83-51 Tuesday night in the second game of the inaugural Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational.
“All teams I think this early in the season of course are finding themselves, (and we’re) certainly looking for sure but (we) took some steps tonight.”
That is an understatement. Keyontae Johnson was one of four Gators (7-3) to finish in double-figure scoring. Johnson led Florida with 19 points. Tre Mann contributed 13 points. Noah Locke chipped in with 11, and Ques Glover had 10. Florida has won five of six.
While the Gators appear to be rolling, Providence (6-6) appears to be stuck in neutral. The Friars have alternated wins and losses in their last four games, and overall have dropped four of six.
Alpha Diallo led all scorers with 20 points. Nate Watson Jr. added 18.
“That was a long game,” said Providence coach Ed Cooley.
The Gators led throughout. Florida began the game by outscoring the Friars 22-10 in the first 10:07, and had a 37-22 lead at halftime.
Florida extended its lead to as much as 32 in the second half, as the Gators were able to finish at the rim seemingly at will. In a span of 4:16 early in the second half, Florida scored nine points, six of which came on a dunk and two layups.
“It wasn’t our best game,” Cooley said. “(Or) best day.”
With the outcome long determined, the only questions were whether Florida would set a season high in points scored and a season low in points allowed. The Gators had scored 78 against Miami on Nov. 22, while limiting the Hurricanes to 58.
While the Friars were trapped in a 40-minute deep freeze, Florida authored a master class in offensive basketball. The Gators left the Barclays Center having shot 50.9 percent from the field, and 44.4 percent from 3.
Florida next faces Utah State on Saturday in Sunrise.