What to Know
- Egor Koulechov scored 20 points and Florida eased past St. Bonaventure 77-62 on Thursday night.
- Jalen Hudson scored 16 points and Chris Chiozza had 11 assists for the sixth-seeded Gators.
- While the tired Bonnies go home, the Gators will face a heavily pro-Texas Tech crowd in Dallas.
Egor Koulechov watched a heartbreaking NCAA Tournament loss as a freshman at Arizona State.
Four years and two schools later, the graduate transfer from Russia enjoyed his second NCAA experience quite a bit more.
Koulechov scored 20 points and Florida eased past St. Bonaventure 77-62 on Thursday night, ending the Bonnies' postseason 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.
"This is what I wanted when I came here," Koulechov said. "We're obviously not done. Still hopefully a lot of basketball to be played."
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.
St. Bonaventure was practicing in Dallas 12 hours after a middle-of-the-night arrival. And the Bonnies played four games in seven days, first in Washington, then Dayton and finally Dallas.
"I'm not one to make excuses, but it's one of those things," Jaylen Adams said. "We were a little gassed. You could tell. We weren't used to that many games in that many days."
Koulechov spent the previous two seasons at Rice after sitting out a year when he left Arizona State. As a seldom-used reserve, he didn't get in the game when the Sun Devils lost to Texas on a buzzer-beating follow shot by Texas' Cameron Ridley in 2014.
The 6-foot-5 guard had his first 20-point game since early January, going 4 of 10 from 3-point range.
"This team, they've been awesome," Koulechov said. "The whole experience, not just the NCAA Tournament. Just the whole year, it's been amazing."
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 as the Gators bounced from a loss to Arkansas in their SEC Tournament opener.
While the tired Bonnies go home, the Gators will face a heavily pro-Texas Tech crowd in Dallas. American Airlines Center is about a five-hour drive from the Red Raiders' Lubbock campus.