Monday April 3, 2000Men's Hoops Falls to MSU, 89-76 in Title Game
MSU's Morris Peterson scored 21 points and Mateen Cleaves added 18 as the Spartans won their second National Championship.
Florida never led in the game. The Gators trailed 43-32 at the half. They cut the lead to six in the second half, but that's as close as they would get. The Gators trailed, 50-44 when Cleaves left the game with a left ankle injury. A three-pointer put the Gators behind by nine. They were down, 55-49 when A.J. Granger nailed one of his three three-pointers on the night to put the Spartans up again by nine.
Gator coach Billy Donovan said in the post-game media room that Michigan State's seniors were the difference in the game. "Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Granger stepped up - made plays, made shots, opened the game up for them, everytime we got to six or eight points in the second half."
UF sophomore forward Udonis Haslem scored a career-high 27 points while junior forward Brent Wright finished with 13 points and ten rebounds. Senior guardKenyan Weaks scored three points in his final game as a Gator.
Sophomore forward Mike Miller, who took just five shots and scored ten points, said it was a difficult loss. "We came here wanting to win," said Miller. "We had a great run...a great tournament run. Not alot of people expected us to do a whole lot." Florida finished the season with a 29-8 record.