By JOANNE KORTH
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 27, 2000
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Florida's Kenyan Weaks couldn't resist the opportunity to celebrate early. Oklahoma State players were walking off the court Sunday when he went in for a dunk with one second left.
The score: 75-65.
Wait, make that 77.
"Coach (Billy Donovan) told us to hold the ball, but I was interested in doing something else," said Weaks, UF's only senior. "That was just an exclamation point. This is the first time I've been to the Final Four and I'm grateful."
Though considered bad form to rub defeat in a team's face with an uncontested basket, Weaks said he doesn't expect too much criticism from his teammates.
"Nah, that was for my mother," he said.
Junior Brent Wright said it was excusable: "The guys on the other team said something to him, but he was excited. He's entitled."
LOST AND FOUND: UF freshman guard Justin Hamilton had a big game on the offensive glass. Four times in the first half he lost his defender and hung around under the basket for easy putbacks. "I don't know what happened to my man," Hamilton said. "I just went to the boards hard and got some easy buckets.
TRUE TO FORM: Oklahoma State senior point guard Doug Gottlieb showed why he is one of the nation's best passers, and one of its worst shooters. Gottlieb had seven assists, finishing his career with 947, eighth on the NCAA's all-time list. He also had both of his field-goal attempts blocked and clanged a pair of free throws in the second half.
TAR WHOS?: The Gators were too caught up in their victory to give a moment's thought to their next opponent: Final Four surprise North Carolina. Florida is 1-3 all-time against the Tar Heels, and the schools last met in 1965. Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton likes the Gators' chances: "I think Florida's quickness will hurt them."
TIP-INS: The two-day attendance of 61,069 at the Carrier Dome set an NCAA region record. ... Members of the East Region All-Tournament team were Brett Nelson, Udonis Haslem and MVP Mike Miller of Florida; Fredrik Jonzen of Oklahoma State; and Shane Battier of Duke. ... Miller's 92 career points in NCAA Tournament play is the most in UF history. ... UF freshmen Donnell Harvey, Matt Bonner, Harvey and Nelson accounted for 40 of the team's 77 points.