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Tonight: No. 5 Florida vs. Charlotte

By ANTONYA ENGLISH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 15, 2001

WHAT: Seventh annual Orange Bowl Classic.

WHEN/WHERE: 7:30; American Airlines Arena, Miami.

TV/RADIO: Sunshine; WDAE-AM 620, WDCF-AM 1350, WWJB-AM 1450, WXCV-FM 95.3.

RECORDS: Charlotte 4-3, Florida 6-1.

COACHES: Charlotte -- Bobby Lutz (66-41, fourth season). UF -- Billy Donovan (108-57, sixth season; 143-77 overall).

KEY PLAYERS: Charlotte -- Joeby Thomas, G, 6-4 Sr. (16.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg); Demon Brown, G, 6-1 So. (12.9 ppg, 5.4 apg); Curtis Nash, F, 6-6 Jr. (10.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg); Cam Stephens, F, 6-8 Sr. (9.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg). UF -- Brett Nelson, G, 6-4 Jr. (14.7 ppg, 3.9 apg); Matt Bonner, F, 6-10 Jr. (17.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg); Udonis Haslem, C, 6-9 Sr. (13.1 ppg, 8.4 rpg); Justin Hamilton, G, 6-3 Jr. (9.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg).

TICKETS: Charge by phone at (305) 358-5885 or go to www.ticketmaster.com.

OF NOTE: Miami (8-0) plays No. 21 Indiana (6-2) at 5 tonight. The Gators are making their fourth appearance in the Orange Bowl Classic, the second-most behind annual host Miami. Tonight's game is a homecoming for senior center Haslem and sophomore Bonell Colas. Florida is 6-1 for the fourth consecutive season and is 2-1 in the Orange Bowl tournament. Charlotte is the Gators' third C-USA opponent in the past four games. Florida holds five team records in the Orange Bowl Classic: points scored (85 in last season's win over Gonzaga), 3-pointers made (13 in 1998) and attempted (36, 1997), and 20 assists and 28 field goals (vs. Michigan in 1998). Thomas led C-USA in 3-pointers last season and leads the conference with 3.9 per game. In its first three games Charlotte shot 49 percent from 3-point range, but is at 33 percent in the past four games.

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