January 11, 2018 10:17:16 AM
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Jalen Hudson had one thing left to do after the Florida men's basketball team's sixth-consecutive victory.
"We got to wipe down everything with some Clorox and bleach," Hudson said.
It might have helped more a few weeks ago.
Egor Koulechov scored 23 points, including Florida's first 13 of the game, and the sick and short-handed Gators beat Mississippi State 71-54 on Wednesday night for their longest winning streak of the season.
Hudson added 12 points despite missing 10 of 13 shots to help the Gators win their eighth straight against the Bulldogs (13-3, 1-2 Southeastern Conference).
Chris Chiozza, who missed practice this week because of strep throat, finished with 10 points and seven assists off the bench. Keith Stone chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.
"It's been a crazy year," Florida coach Mike White said. "We've got to wash our hands more."
The Gators (12-4, 4-0) opened up a 10-point lead early in the second half when Chiozza hit a 3-pointer and converted a four-point play on consecutive possessions. Koulechov piled on a few minutes later, hitting a 3-pointer in transition and adding a dunk off Chiozza's steal.
In all, it was a 27-7 run that turned a close game into a lopsided affair.
Mississippi State coach Ben Howland called timeouts and made substitutions, but nothing stopped Florida's spurt.
Maybe the most impressive aspect of Florida's latest victory was that it came despite injury and illness. Koulechov continued to play through plantar fasciitis, and Chiozza and Hudson have been among those sick in recent weeks. Guard Deaundrae Ballard is the latest to miss a game because of illness.
"We've got to get healthy," White said.
Quinndary Weatherspoon led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Abdul Ado added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
MSU's Aric Holman, the team's second-leading scorer, fouled out in 16 minutes. He left the floor with 13 minutes, 19 seconds remaining. It was the first time he has been disqualified this season. He finished with seven points and four boards.
"He got three fouls in three minutes in the second half," Howland said. "I put him back him when we were down nine trying to keep it reasonable and not let it slip away, and right away he picked up his fifth. We've got to learn from that."
MSU was 5-for-16 from 3-point range. They made 10 or more 3-pointers in three non-conference games, so they can do it. They just haven't in SEC play.
"We've got to be able to knock down the open shots we get," Howland said.
MSU guard Xavian Stapleton didn't make the trip after turning himself into police Monday to satisfy an arrest warrant for allegedly disturbing the peace. The junior was released on a $500 bond. Stapleton is averaging 6.5 points and 2.7 rebounds.
MSU will play host to Auburn at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
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