NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Florida coach Mike White has the utmost respect for Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger. That's why the Gators' performance Saturday against the Sooners meant so much to him.
Kevarrius Hayes scored a career-high 20 points to help No. 25 Florida beat Oklahoma 84-52 in the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
"It feels good," he said. "To come to Oklahoma and beat a Lon Kruger team by one point would have felt great."
Hayes' previous career high was 14 points. The sophomore post player was averaging just 5.6 points coming into the day.
"The ball just finds him at times," White said. "He doesn't have an agenda of, 'Coach, call this play for me, and when I get the ball, I'm going to try to do this to score this many points.' He's not worried about touches."
— Gators M-Basketball (@GatorsMBK) January 28, 2017
Florida scored a season-high 106 points against LSU on Wednesday , and then held Oklahoma to 27.7-percent shooting.
Oklahoma has struggled at times this season, but the Sooners were good enough to beat then-No. 7 West Virginia on the road on Jan. 18.
"That's something the coaches stressed," Barry said. "Obviously, every game for us is important. You have to have the right mindset. Oklahoma's a young team. They're very talented."
Rashard Odomes scored 13 points for the Sooners (8-12), and Kameron McGusty had 10.
Jordan Woodard, Oklahoma's leading scorer for the season with 17 points per game, went scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting. The senior guard was benched for most of the second half.
Kruger said Woodard wasn't feeling well and felt dizzy in the second half, but also added that Woodard "couldn't get anything going."
Oklahoma led 20-18 before Florida took control. Barry drained three underhanded free throws with 4 seconds left in the first half to put the Gators up 43-28 at the break.
The Sooners shot 24.2 percent from the field in the first half and missed all six of their 3-point tries. They finished 1 for 16 from beyond the arc.
"Not much from our perspective, not much good there," said Kruger, who coached Florida to the 1994 Final Four. "I thought Mike (White) did a great job. He's got a really good team. After the first 10 minutes, they pretty much dominated every aspect."
With the recent losses to the Gamecocks and Commodores by a combined six points, Florida couldn't afford to lose a non-conference game against a team with a losing record.
Oklahoma has dropped three in a row since posting consecutive wins against West Virginia and Texas Tech. The Sooners have lost 10 of 12 overall.
The Gators likely solidified their standing in the Top 25 after falling from No. 19 the previous week.
Brent Musburger called play-by-play for the second-to-last time of his career. The 77-year-old TV broadcaster will retire after calling the Georgia at Kentucky game on Jan. 31.
"We had been making a lot of progress in a lot of ways," Kruger said. "Last couple of losses disappointing, but we fought them hard. Today, we didn't lock in there and compete for that result. Credit Florida for doing that. We didn't match their intensity."
Florida hosts Missouri on Thursday. The Tigers began the day at the bottom of the SEC.
Oklahoma hosts Oklahoma State on Monday. The Cowboys lost their first six Big 12 games, but they now have wins over Texas Tech and TCU and are gaining confidence.
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