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Thursday March 9, 2000Men's Hoops Uses Big Second Half to Win SEC Opener

Atlanta, GA

The 11th-ranked University of Florida men's basketball team used a 19-0 run in the second half to overtake Mississippi, 89-67 Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals at the SEC men's basketball tournament in Atlanta.

Senior guard Kenyan Weaks (pictured left) led six Gator players in double-figures with 18 points.

Trailing 43-40 early in the second half, the Gators outscored the Rebels, 46-27 the rest of the way to post their 24th win of the year.

The Gators shot 62 percent in the second half and 54 percent for the game. Florida struggled in the first half, though, leading by just three points at the half.

"It was a taxing game", said Gator coach Billy Donovan. "It was a physically, grinding game." Donovan was pleased the Gators stuck to their gameplan and wore down the Rebels in the second half. "I just felt like we needed to keep pushing the pace of the game and maybe dealing with some easy layups".

Florida made a school-record nine steals and forced 22 turnovers. They also outrebounded Ole Miss 41-24. Sophomore forwardMike Miller scored 15 points while sophomore center Udonis Haslem, freshman forward Donnell Harvey and freshman guard Brett Nelson scored 11 points apiece.

Harvey also gathered 12 rebounds for his sixth double- double of the season. Weaks made two free throws to give him a school record 33 consecutive made foul shots.

The Gators will meet Auburn in the quarterfinals Friday night at 7:30.

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