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Balanced offense keys Gators' victory
By wire services
Published November 20, 2004
JACKSONVILLE - Anthony Roberson scored 19 and David Lee had 15 points and 10 rebounds as No.23 Florida routed Jacksonville 81-59 in its season opener Friday.
Florida used a 10-0 run midway through the first half to take the lead for good then extended the lead to 21 with another 10-0 run to start the second.
Jacksonville, coming off consecutive losing seasons, cut the lead to 58-47 midway through the second half on consecutive 3-pointers by B.J. Surry. But Roberson answered with his second 3-pointer of the game, and the Gators made their free throws down the stretch to seal it.
Florida's Matt Walsh finished with 14 points. The Gators, who made only 6 of 16 3-pointers, used 11 of 12 scholarship players. Only Joakim Noah, who has missed practices with mononucleosis, didn't play.
David Lee, another player with the same name, led Jacksonville with 15 points.
Florida began the season with its lowest preseason ranking since 2000 after failing to advance to the Sweet 16 in the past three NCAA tournaments. The Gators were upset by Manhattan in the first round last season.
But the team's expectations remain high. The Gators return their top three scorers, Walsh, Roberson and Lee, and added another strong recruiting class.
In addition, coach Billy Donovan brought in an assistant, former Clemson coach Larry Shyatt, to improve Florida's defense, its biggest weakness in its tournament losses.
Shyatt, who also coached at Wyoming, has a reputation of building strong defenses. His debut went well.
The Gators had a productive press and gave up few easy baskets. They also held Jacksonville to two field goals during the final 12:28 of the first half.