DALLAS – Egor Koulechov scored 20 points and Florida eased past St. Bonaventure 77-62 on Thursday night, ending the Bonnies’ postseason run two days after their first NCAA Tournament victory in 48 years.
Jalen Hudson scored 16 points and Chris Chiozza had 11 assists for the sixth-seeded Gators, who have reached the Elite Eight the past five times they’ve been in the tournament. Florida (21-12) will face Texas Tech in an East Region second-round game Saturday.
A whirlwind week finally caught up with the Bonnies (26-8), who finished at 35 percent shooting but were in the 20s when the outcome was in doubt.
Courtney Stockard led St. Bonaventure with 14 points after scoring 26 in a win over UCLA in a First Four game in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Stockard fouled out with 2:10 remaining and left to a standing ovation from Bonnies fans who were still on their feet in the final minutes in sections just across the American Airlines Center court from their team’s bench.
Koulechov is a graduate transfer from Rice who was a freshman at Arizona State when the Sun Devils lost a tournament opener to Texas on buzzer-beater in 2014. He was 4 of 10 from 3-point range.
Florida trailed 22-21 late in the first half when Mike Okauru hit a 3-pointer to start a 15-0 run that continued after halftime and put the Gators up 36-22.
Hudson soared over Matt Mobley for a put-back dunk and made the free throw after a foul to give Florida its first 20-point lead at 57-37 with about 8 minutes remaining.
St. Bonaventure, which set a school record for wins by beating UCLA and was an at-large choice out of the Atlantic 10 Conference, was making its first NCAA appearance since 2012 and seventh overall.
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