Friday March 20, 2009Gators Advance to NIT Quarterfinals with 74-60 Win Over Miami
Sophomore guard Nick Calathes (Casselberry, Fla.) had 21 points, sophomore forward Alex Tyus (St. Louis, Mo.) added 13 points and 12 rebounds, and the Gators beat in-state rival Miami 74-60 in the second round of the NIT on Friday night in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Florida (25-10) improved to 18-1 at home this season, tying a school record for home wins, and advanced to the tournament quarterfinals. The top-seeded Gators will host No. 2 seed Penn State on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN.
Miami (19-13) got way behind early, trailing by 22 points in the first half, and never recovered. The Hurricanes cut the lead to 11 several times in the second half, but couldn't get any closer.
Florida, much like it did in the first round against Jacksonville, got off to a strong start. The Gators made seven of their first 10 shots, including four from 3-point range, and led 20-2 with 11:36 to play in the first half.
Miami, meanwhile, missed nine of its first 10. The Hurricanes had hoped to get the ball down low and be physical against Florida, a tactic that worked for many Southeastern Conference teams this season.
But Miami's first seven shots were from behind the arc. The Hurricanes missed their first eight 3-point attempts and finally got one to fall when McClinton hit with 9:35 remaining.
Nonetheless, the Gators opened up a 31-9 lead with 7:53 left.
The 'Canes sliced the lead in half thanks mostly to 3s from McClinton, Lance Hurdle, Brian Asbury and Adrian Thomas. But Florida pushed it back to 48-32 at halftime on consecutive hustle plays from Ray Shipman (Miramar, Fla.). The freshman guard grabbed an offensive rebound and drove to the basket with less than a minute to play, then stole a pass in the lane and dribbled the other way in the closing seconds.
Sophomore forward Chandler Parsons (Casselberry, Fla.) found Calathes wide open, and the point guard drained a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
The Gators shot a season-high 63 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes and were 8-of-16 from 3-point range. Calathes ended the half with 13 points, four rebounds and six assists.
Florida cooled off in the second half, but Miami did little to mount a comeback.
Calathes finished with four 3-pointers and added six rebounds and seven assists. Junior forward Dan Werner (Middletown, N.J.) added 12 points and six rebounds for the Gators.
The Hurricanes were outrebounded 37-25 and finished 7-of-25 from 3-point range. McClinton was 5-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-9 from behind the arc.
Dwayne Collins led Miami with 17 points and eight rebounds. Jack McClinton added 13 points.