GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP)—Lee Humphrey’s shot felt good the first three games. It felt really good Saturday night.
Humphrey broke out of a brief shooting slump, hitting five 3-pointers and leading top-ranked Florida to a 93-44 victory over Chattanooga.
“It’s about time Lee started making some 3s,” teammate Taurean Green said with a laugh. “Lee is one of the most underrated shooters in the country. He’s the best shooter in the country, hands down. He had an off night the first three games. But he had the hot hand tonight.”
Corey Brewer had 13 points for the defending national champions, and Green added 11 despite going 1-for-7 from 3-point range.
Chattanooga doubled Joakim Noah and Al Horford most of the game, creating plenty of outside shots.
Humphrey took advantage of the open looks. A career 43-percent shooter from beyond the arc, Humphrey entered the game having made just three of 12 shots from 3-point range this season. The senior improved his percentage substantially against the Mocs (1-2).
Humphrey was 5-for-7 from beyond the arc, helping the Gators (4-0) extend their winning streak to 15 games and win their 24th consecutive game against non-conference opponents.
“I felt really good. I got open looks, and our post players passed it really well,” said Humphrey, who made several big shots in the NCAA tournament. “It’s felt good the whole year. It felt really good tonight.”
Noah and Horford, two days after totaling 34 points and 17 rebounds, had a combined 15 points and nine boards. Noah was 6-of-10 from the free-throw line. Horford was in foul trouble much of the night.
“If you want to stop our big guys, they can do a good job of passing out of the post and we have guys who can shoot it,” Green said. “It’s pick your poison.”
Florida shot 54 percent from the floor and was 14-of-31 from 3-point range.
“It was a game for our perimeter players,” coach Billy Donovan said. “How are you going to play us? They chose to take away our frontcourt. When that happens, all of our guys are going to get relatively decent looks.”
That was all Humphrey needed.
“I don’t worry about Lee,” Donovan said. “I tell him to let them go, let them fly. He got a lot of great looks.”
Chattanooga kept it close early with aggressive defense and some easy second-chance baskets.
The Gators led 23-16 midway through the first half, then closed with a 14-3 spurt. They kept it going early in the second half with a 20-0 run, part of a 39-5 surge that turned the game into a rout.
Florida led 74-33 after Horford’s dunk with 6:29 to play. Donovan emptied the bench about a minute later, letting the reserves play the rest of the way.
Nicchaeus Doaks had 11 points to lead the Mocs, who shot 39 percent from the field and were 5-of-20 from behind the 3-point line.
“We just got spanked by the No. 1 team in the country,” said Ricky Hood, who added nine points for Chattanooga.
It was the third game in five days for Florida and the third of four contests over eight days as the champs prepare for the Las Vegas Invitational next week. The Gators will play Western Kentucky and No. 3 Kansas on consecutive nights in Vegas.
“Lee’s been struggling,” Brewer said. “But he got on track tonight, which is good since we’re going to play two good teams next weekend.”