Some observations following UF’s 87-46 win over Charlotte at the Orange Bowl Classic:
— Is it time for the Gators to consider starting Kevarrius Hayes ahead of John Egbunu at center? Certainly, Hayes provided a nice boost against Charlotte with 9 points and 5 rebounds and has improved his touch and finishing ability around the basket. “He took advantage of an opportunity,” Florida coach Mike White said. Walk-on senior center Schuyler Rimmer also was active with 3 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 12 minutes off the bench.
— Florida was active defending the passing lanes throughout the game with 13 steals. Junior point guard Chris Chiozza had 5 of those steals and senior point guard Kasey Hill had 2 steals, including one that resulted in a breakaway dunk. Even freshman Eric Hester showed promise in the backcourt with 7 points and a steal. “His defense is ahead of his offense,” White said. “He’s an intangible guy. He’s about where we thought he would be right now.”
— It was nice to see Canyon Barry get back on track offensively, albeit against a lesser opponent. Time will tell if Barry can score consistently at the SEC level, but against Charlotte, the 6-foot-6 swingman was able to get to the line and convert, going 9 of 10 on his free-throw attempts. Barry also made one of UF’s six three-pointers and was more efficient with his shot selection, going 3 of 6 from the floor.