College Basketball

Kugel leads Florida’s second-half rally to topple LSU 79-67

Stock photo of a basketball.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Riley Kugel scored 21 points, Will Richard added 18 points and Florida defeated LSU 79-67 on Saturday night after trailing by 12 points in the second half.

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The 24-point turnaround was sparked by Kugel, a freshman who averages 9.3 points but has reached double figures in eight consecutive games. Trailing 44-32, he started Florida’s rally with a 3-pointer and later scored 11 points in a 13-4 run that put the game well in hand. He scored 17 points in the second half on 4 of 5 3-point shooting and 6 of 8 overall.

LSU led 49-43 in the second half before going cold, making just 5 of 20 shots in the final 10 1/2 minutes, twice going 1 for 8. The Gators, on the other hand, made 7 of their last 9 shots to reach 50 points in the second half.

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Richard made 7 of 10 shots and grabbed six rebounds. Kyle Lofton had 16 points, five rebounds and five assists for Florida (16-15, 9-9 SEC).

KJ Williams scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Derek Fountain added 13 points and 12 rebounds for LSU (13-18, 2-16). Adam Miller had 10 points.

Williams had eight points and six rebounds to lead LSU to a 33-29 halftime lead.

The conference tournament begins Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee.