- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - KeVaughn Allen is quickly becoming Florida’s most consistent scorer.

Four nights after dropping a career-high 32 points in a loss to Florida State, the freshman delivered 18 in a 77-63 win against Georgia on Saturday night.

John Egbunu chipped in his third double-double of the season as the Gators (9-4) beat the Bulldogs (7-4) in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Egbunu finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, the kind of inside presence that helped open up things for Allen on the perimeter.

“It’s really nice as a staff to see him get going,” coach Mike White said of Allen. “It gives you confidence. I think offensively he’s given our team a little bit more confidence. … He’s been through the freshman stuff. I’m just happy he’s stayed the course. He’s shown tremendous character, whether he’s played 12 minutes or 30. And now he’s kind of coming into his own a little bit and he’s probably play as well as most freshmen in our league.”

Devin Robinson added 13 points for Florida before leaving with a bruised chest late in the first half. He did not return.

Yante Maten led Georgia with 20 points, his sixth 20-plus-point outing in the last eight games. Kenny Gaines added 13.

“It was frustrating, but we had a chance the whole time,” Maten said. “We just didn’t finish.”

The Bulldogs had won four in a row and were looking for a “Sunshine State Sweep” after the football team won the TaxSlayer Bowl in nearby Jacksonville. But they ended up with a 13th consecutive loss in Gainesville, a streak that dates to 2002.

Georgia trailed by 16 early before whittling it down to 50-44 after the break. Florida responded, though, by pushing the ball inside and getting to the free-throw line. The Gators finished 24 of 41 from the stripe.

“It felt great because we finally made our free throws down the stretch,” guard Chris Chiozza said. “I’m not sure what we shot, but down the stretch we made them, and that’s what mattered.”

Chiozza may have delivered the biggest bucket when he drained a 3-pointer with about 7 minutes to play, pushing the lead to 62-49. He finished with 11 points, six rebounds and six assists. Fellow point guard Kasey Hill added 10 points, six rebounds and four assists. Hill could have scored more, but he went 8 of 16 from the free-throw line.

The Bulldogs got it to single digits in the closing minutes, but Allen answered with his third trey of the night. He finished 5 of 11 from the field, 3 of 6 from behind the arc and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line.

“I knew he could do it all along,” Chiozza said. “I’ve played against him and seen him play. I told him, ‘You can score whenever you want. We need you to do that.’ I know it’s rough when you first get to college, but I feel like he’s finally made that jump and I think he’s going to play like that every night.”

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TIP-INS

Georgia: Coach Mark Fox was charged with a technical foul in the second half for yelling at officials. … Athletic director Greg McGarity made the drive from Jacksonville to Gainesville for the game, taking in the bowl game and the SEC hoops opener.

Florida: Florida extended its 3-point streak to 810 games. Gators have made at least one trey in every game since Jan. 11, 1992. … Played without forwards Alex Murphy (foot) and Schuyler Rimmer (back). Murphy reinjured a plantar fascia tear last week and missed his 11th game of the season. Rimmer sat out his fourth straight game.

THE DIFFERENCE

Florida made 9 of 22 shots from 3-point range, including 6 of 11 to start the game. “That’s how we drew it up,” White said. “We knew we would come out and hit a bunch of 3s.”

Georgia, meanwhile, was 2-for-12 shooting from behind the arc. That’s a 21-point differential from long range.

UP NEXT

Georgia hosts Missouri on Wednesday.

Florida plays at Tennessee on Wednesday.

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