GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- They were far from full strength at the time. Scottie Wilbekin was still suspended. Dorian Finney-Smith was playing just his second game back while trying to shake a virus. And Kasey Hill suffered a severe ankle sprain.
The Florida Gators, though, still managed to build a 16-point halftime lead and upped it to 22 late before emptying the bench and coasting home for a 67-53 defeat of Southern University on Nov. 18 at the O'Connell Center.
Yes, that Southern University.
The same team from the Southwest Athletic Conference that made national headlines Monday by demolishing itty-bitty Champion Baptist College 116-12 after jumping -- get this, folks -- to a 44-0 lead.
“I was surprised at how well we played played defensively,” Southern coach Roman Banks told ESPN.com. “It led to a bunch of transition baskets.”
Guess so. Champions Baptist finished 3-for-44 from the floor (that would be 6.8 percent), as Southern set an all-divisions record for consecutive points scored to start a game. The Jaguars shattered the mark held by Seton Hall, which dropped the first 34 on Kean College in 1998.
The Tigers’ first field goal came at the 5:10 mark of the first half. They missed their first 16 shots, had 11 turnovers and were out-rebounded 28-7 to that point.
“I didn’t even realize they hadn’t scored,” Banks said. “They made a free throw and everyone started clapping. I looked at the scoreboard and asked my assistant if that was the right score.”
Guard Tre Lynch, who scored six against the Gators, led the Jaguars with 27 points.
Champions Baptist, out of Hot Springs, Ark., plays as an independent member of the Association of Christ College Athletics, one of two non-Division I opponents Southern’s budget allows it to bring to campus during the season.
For about $2,000,
Southern, meanwhile, got nice pay days this season from visits to Florida, Arizona, Baylor, Marquette, Denver and Louisiana Tech in exchange to play the team with the blind fold and cigarette.
This trip, though, was a little different for Champions Baptist.
More so even than its 90-36 loss to the Jaguars last season.
“Defensively, I felt like we played aggressive, we played hard and that’s a pretty good showing for us against a D-1 school,” CBC coach Eric Capaci said after holding Southern to 59 percent on 78 field-goal attempts. “Offensively, we just did not show up. We missed our free throws, and missed a lot of easy lay ups.”
But they made news.