Gators knock off ETSU in NCAA tournament opener

Local musician in Florida pep band at NCAA tournament

ORLANDO-  The Florida Gators' first score of their first NCAA tournament game came on a thunderous dunk by forward Devin Robinson. By the 15-minute mark of the first half, Robinson had two more thunderous dunks, thrilling a pro-Florida crowd of over 15-thousand and the Gators had a 14-6 lead.

Add in a 12-1 run midway through the second half that broke open a close game, and the Gators cruised to a 80-65   victory over East Tennessee State in their first round matchup at the Amway Center in Orlando.

It was not nearly as easy as the final score indicated though. The Buccaneers came back and tied the game at 30 late in the first half. At halftime, the Gators led 33-32.

It was a five point game (47-42) at the 12:47 mark of the second half when Florida went on their run.

It started with a dunk by little-used center Gorjok Gak.Two minutes later, guard Chris Chiozza hit a long three that gave the Gators their first double digit lead 54-43. The run ended on a thunderous dunk by center Kevarrius Hayes which put the Gators up by 16 (59-43).

Robinson led the Gators in scoring with 24 points.

Florida will take on the Virginia Cavaliers in Orlando in round two Saturday, with the winner earning a trip to the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  Virginia defeated UNC-Wilmington 76-71 earlier in the day in Orlando.

STORY: Gators, Seminoles hope to use Orlando "home-court" advantage in NCAA tournament

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