GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Freshman Scottie Lewis scored 15 points in his first start, and No. 15 Florida escaped with a 66-60 victory over Towson on Thursday night.
Graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. had 13 points and 13 rebounds in his third game with his new team as Florida (2-1) bounced back from a dispiriting home loss to Florida State. Andrew Nembhard had 11 points and nine assists for the Gators.
Allen Bertrand scored 14 points for the Tigers (2-2), and his 3-pointer with 5:46 remaining gave Towson its last lead at 57-55. But the Tigers struggled from there, going 1 for 6 from the field as Florida ended the game with a 6-0 run.
The Gators closed it out thanks to improved transition defense and a few big shots, including a jumper by Blackshear with 1:06 left that gave Florida the lead for good at 62-60.
Towson jumped out to an early 19-13 lead as Florida once again started hesitantly on the offensive end.
Lewis, ranked ESPN’s No. 10 overall prospect in the 2019 class, went 5-for-8 from the field, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range. The Gators shot 7 of 22 (31.8%) from beyond the arc, an improvement for a team that had made 7 of 37 3-point attempts in its first two games.
Towson: The Tigers gave the Gators all they can handle yet couldn’t come away with a coveted victory over a ranked opponent. They’ll have another chance in a week, when they play No. 21 Xavier.
Florida: The Gators had plenty of preseason hype with the additions of Lewis and Blackshear but were underwhelming in their opening three games, all at home.
Towson: Faces Xavier next Thursday in the Charleston Classic.
Florida: At UConn on Sunday.
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