St. Petersburg Times
Online: Tech Times
Print storySubscribe to the Times

College basketball

Homely victory likely to move Gators to No. 1

Florida lets Stetson hang around before pulling away 74-61.

Published December 7, 2003

GAINESVILLE - The last week has seen Florida break down defensively, overlook opponents and take verbal lashings by its coach. Yet at the same time, the Gators have found a way to rise to No. 2 in the country and could be No. 1 in the next poll because of Kansas' loss to Stanford.

And while they walked off the floor Saturday with a 74-61 victory against Stetson, their opponent is not convinced.

"I don't know about No. 2 in the country," Stetson guard Anthony Register said. "Miami (whom Stetson lost to 91-70 on Tuesday) was a great team, and they're not even ranked. No disrespect to Florida, but I don't think they are the No. 2 team in the country."

Florida guard Anthony Roberson said while the rankings are out of the team's control, they bring added pressure to each game.

"It doesn't even matter how we feel about (the ranking)," he said. "They have already put the bull's-eye on our back. When you are No. 2 or in the Top 5, everybody is looking for that upset."

With a game against Maryland (3-0), No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, Wednesday, Florida (5-0) might have overlooked the trio of instate opponents it faced in the past five days. And for the third consecutive game, Florida found itself tested by a team that entered as a considerable underdog.

The Gators took a 12-point lead into halftime but committed 10 turnovers to 11 assists. Florida got to the free-throw line 10 times to combat their turnovers while Stetson attempted just two in the first half. The Gators made 9 of 10.

Coach Billy Donovan said he was not concerned about the sloppiness because his team tried to follow his pregame instructions of increased ball movement.

"I really think that a lot of the turnovers can be attributed to me," Donovan said. "I've been focusing offensively on the extra pass, and I thought our starters played great."

Florida opened a 25-point lead with 7:19 left. The run was spurred by Roberson, who scored 11 of his 18 points after halftime. The Gators' other key contributor was forward David Lee, who had 16 points and nine rebounds.

Though he has been bothered by recurring leg cramps and an ankle injury during Florida's first four games, Lee played 26 minutes and said he felt good afterward.

"We got up and down the floor quite a bit, so it was a high-intensity game," Lee said. "I am just taking steps in the right direction right now."

A late flurry allowed Stetson to close the final gap to 13 points, a breakdown Donovan attributed to different lineup combinations and youth on the floor.

"It is not a matter of them doing the things I ask them to do. It is just a matter of us putting things together," he said. "I think they are moving in the right direction. We just have to make sure that our younger guys understand the level that they need to play at from an intensity standpoint."

[Last modified December 7, 2003, 01:34:09]


  • Agent says MLB is lying about revenues

  • College basketball
  • 'Noles' rout doesn't impress their coach
  • 3's propel Charlotte to a double-OT victory
  • Homely victory likely to move Gators to No. 1
  • Huskers show off power, beat Bulls
  • Late slump doomstop-ranked Kansas
  • Arizona averts upset by inches
  • Sooners edge Spartans in OT
  • Different Gators defeat Seminoles
  • Spartans overwhelm a pesky Kent State

  • College football
  • Oklahoma loses - now what?
  • USC states its BCS case
  • KSU shocks unbeaten Sooners
  • LSU dominates from start, defeats Georgia
  • Miami expects three stars to leave early
  • Navy win has Army at 0-13
  • Syracuse ends skid as Irish finish another losing season
  • USC states its BCS case

  • Golf
  • Furyk mightiest of major champs

  • In brief
  • Klitschko becomes WBC top contender

  • Motorsports
  • CART teams wait for resolution of issues

  • NBA
  • Chicago may shed flat pair
  • Mavs extend Magic's woes

  • NFL
  • Dolphins land in snowstorm
  • For Stecker, hate mail hits home
  • NFL picks
  • The bottomline
  • Things that make you go hmmm ...

  • NHL
  • Hull ties for third in goals; Detroit loses
  • Slapshots

  • Opinion
  • Rant, Rave

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Parimutuels
  • Derby Lane ready for early opening

  • Preps
  • Armwood reaches 4A final with blowout win
  • Cook leads Venice at tourney
  • Countryside defends its tournament title
  • QB tandem roughs up East
  • Riverview wins tourney with three class winners
  • Whalen fighting off cancer
  • Letters to the Editor: Clijsters represents the best of sports
  • Rays
  • Perez bolsters Rays bench
  • Rays focus on 3 outfielders
  • Bucs
  • Futility Lines
  • A 5-7 predicament tests heart
  • Bucs-Saints matchup
  • Kickin' back with Darian Barnes
  • Sideline
  • Letters to the Editor: Let QBs on bench test their mettle
  • Lightning
  • Captain and team on track
  • Obscenities don't faze Sunshine

    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111