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Wednesday March 18, 2009Gators Advance Past Jacksonville, 84-62

Gainesville, Fla.

Sophomore guard Nick Calathes (Casselberry, Fla.) broke out of a shooting slump with 19 points, sophomore forward Chandler Parsons (Casselberry, Fla.) added 17 points and 14 rebounds off the bench, and Florida beat Jacksonville 84-62 Wednesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in the opening round of the NIT.


The Gators played one of their best first halves of the season. They shot 63 percent from the field, were 6-of-9 from 3-point range and had a 21-point lead at the break.


Florida (24-10) extended the lead to 26 early in the second half on freshman guard Ray Shipman's (Miramar, Fla.) dunk, and then coasted the rest of the way.


Lehmon Colbert led Jacksonville (18-14) with 11 points and six rebounds.


Calathes finished 8-of-10 shooting and added six rebounds and six assists. He got plenty of help, too. Parsons hit five of his first six shots and had 13 points and nine rebounds at the break. He finished with his second double-double of the season.


Sophomore forward Alex Tyus (St. Louis, Mo.) scored Florida's first seven points and finished with 13. Freshman guard Erving Walker (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 11 and junior forward Dan Werner chipped in 10 points and five assists.


Florida shot 56 percent for the game and was 9-of-19 from behind the arc. Jacksonville shot 37 percent and missed 17 of 23 from behind the arc.


The Dolphins' biggest problem was the slow start. They missed six of their first seven shots, got behind by double digits midway through the first half and never recovered. The team's leading scorer, Ben Smith, finished with seven points on 2-of-13 shooting.


With the win, Florida advances to the second round of the NIT and will host fourth-seeded Miami on Friday night at 7 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.

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