ORLANDO — The Florida Gators are going to need Kasey Hill more than once during the NCAA Tournament.
On the basis of UF’s opening game on Thursday against Albany, the freshman guard showed more consistency in a 67-55 victory at the Amway Center than he did in last week’s SEC Tournament.
Hill, who had to rehab an injured toe before the game, came off the bench to score 10 points, making 3 of 4 shots, 4 of 4 from the foul line, and adding two steals. It was a turnaround from his overall performance in three games at the Georgia Dome last week, especially against Kentucky in the championship.
Gene Frenette: Florida must play much better if it hopes to win title
In that game, Hill was plagued by foul trouble. He was also ineffective when he tried to drive the lane — one of his favorite offensive moves.
“I was out of foul trouble [Thursday],” Hill said. “Just playing with confidence, playing aggressive and doing whatever I can do to help the team.”
Hall scored double figures for the third time this season but the first time since he had 14 points against Arkansas-Little Rock on Nov. 16.
Pitt records fall
Pittsburgh’s 77-48 rout over Colorado before the Florida-Albany game clearly got the attention of UF coach Billy Donovan and his players.
“Obviously I have a lot to get prepared for,” Donovan said.
Pittsburgh’s 29-point margin of victory was a school record in an NCAA game, beating a 26-point victory over Wagner in 2003. The Panthers’ 46-18 halftime lead was its largest in the tournament.
Pitt’s three turnovers were an NCAA team record and the lowest since coach Jamie Dixon took over in 2003-04. Colorado’s 18 first-half points? Also a school record for Pitt. Pitt forward Talib Zenna wasn’t impressed with the Buffaloes.
“In the first five minutes they already gave up,” he said. “We just outplayed them and they quit.”
Colorado didn’t score for the first 5:40 of the game and trailed by margins of 13-0, 23-5 and 36-11.
Young doubles down
Patric Young’s double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) was the 11th of his Florida career but his first of the season. Young, a Providence School graduate, came closest when he had nine points and 14 rebounds against Texas A&M. His last double-double was on Feb. 12, 2013, when he had 12 points and 11 rebounds against Kentucky.
Seniors tie mark
Florida won for the 117th time with the senior class of Young, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete and Casey Prather on the roster. That ties the record of the one-man senior class of 2009, Walter Hodge.
Garry Smits: (904) 359-4362