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Jordan Jones led the Gators with 28 points (photo by Matt Pendleton)

Friday November 25, 2011Jordan Jones' 28 points Leads Gators to Win over La Salle, 85-74

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Jordan Jones led the Gators with 28 points (photo by Matt Pendleton)

Senior Jordan Jones (Suwanee, Ga.) launched a Gator career-high 28 points, junior Jennifer George (Orlando, Fla.) powered in her second consecutive double-double and Florida pulled away from La Salle for an 85-74 victory on the opening day of play at the Courtyard LaGuardia Turkey Classic held at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center on the campus of LIU in Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

The win was the fourth straight for the Gators (4-1), who also received 16 points and nine rebounds from senior guard Lanita Bartley (Jacksonville, Fla.) and 12 points and four assists from sophomore guard Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.).

 

The Gators next play Charlotte (5-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in their second game of the two-day event. The 49ers lost to host LIU, 81-72, in the opening game of the tournament.

 

Florida leads the six-game series versus Charlotte, 5-1, however it was the 49ers who earned the most recent victory, rallying for an 81-77 overtime final in the third round of last year’s Postseason WNIT. The Gators had topped the 49ers in last year’s second round of the PRESEASON WNIT, 76-70.

 

Fans can tune into the game on the radio at WBXY-FM 99.5 “The Star” in Gainesville and through the internet at www.GatorZone.com, the official website of the Florida Gators.

 

“I think today we had some really good individual performances,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “Obviously, Jordan (Jones’) 28 points is very impressive and she shot the ball great. In the first half, (Jennifer) George really sustained us with her play in the paint. But there were some areas we need to quickly turn around and get better at tomorrow.”

 

Jones nailed her fourth three-pointer of the game to begin the second half and give Florida a 44-38 lead, but La Salle charged back with a 6-1 run and got within one, 45-44, with 16:49 remaining.

 

Jones answered with a runner in the paint and Bonds dropped in a floater, before the Explorers rallied with a 7-2 run and tied the game at 51 with 13:37 remaining.

 

Florida quickly regrouped, as Jones nailed another trey and Bartley connected on both ends of a 1-and-1 trip to the free throw line and stretched the lead back to five to begin a game-changing 16-4 spurt that gave the Gators a 71-57 advantage with 8:56 on the clock and Florida remained in charge for the duration of the game.

 

Four different Gators scored during the decisive run, with Jones and Bartley scoring six points each, George netting four points and Deana Allen (Houma, La.), who finished with seven points and three steals, adding five points, including a three-pointer in front of the Gator bench that capped the run.

 

Florida held the 43-35 rebounding advantage, snaring 22 offensive boards, while shooting 44.3 percent (31-70) during the game. La Salle (2-4) hit 47.7 percent of its shots (31-65) and forced 16 Gator turnovers.

 

While Florida scored a season-high 85 points, the 74 points it surrendered is the most by an opponent this year.

 

“I thought we turned the ball over way too many times,” Butler said. “We made some poor decisions at some crucial moments. This was not our team on defense.  We gave up too many points, allowed scorers to score consecutive points in the same way and that’s one of the things we talk about a lot as a team. It was a great rebounding effort by our team, we always know that’s important for us. We didn’t crumble down the stretch. You have to credit La Salle for making some big shots, in particular Jordan Mosley, who is a Florida kid. I thought she played great. They really came ready. When we jumped out on them, they always answered so you have to give La Salle a lot of credit for their effort.”

 

Mosley scored 16 points and was one of four Explorers in double-figures, as Jada Payne led La Salle with 17 points.

 

George finished the game with 18 points and topped her career-high rebounding mark for the second consecutive game, collecting 15 against La Salle after her 14-rebound effort versus Hampton on Tuesday.

 

Jones connected on 9-of-18 shots overall, including 6-of-12 three-pointers and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Her 28 points was three shy of the career mark she set during her freshman year at South Carolina.

 

Bartley helped set Florida’s tone on both ends of the floor, but offensively she converted a game-high 7-of-8 from the free throw line, where the Gators shot 14-of-20.

 

The Gators came out sizzling behind the hot hand of Jones, who tallied of all her 11 points in the first 5:37 of the opening half. Bartley also found her shot early, contributing all of her eight points in the first 5:14.

 

Florida slowly added to its lead, as George, Bonds, Allen and Azania Stewart (Wood Green, England) joined Jones and Bartley on the scoreboard and built a 29-15 lead with 7:40 remaining in the first half.

 

La Salle then ripped off an 11-2 run over the next 3:23 and cut Florida’s lead to five, 31-36.

 

George put in a pair of tough, physical buckets under the basket between an Explorer hoop, as the teams traded scores for the next couple of minutes, before La Salle connects on consecutive offensive trips and Florida whittled to three with 1:34 remaining in the first half.

 

Jordan Mosley canned a trey for the Explorers and had La Salle within two points, but George converted a layup with 26 seconds on the clock that gave UF a 41-37 lead.

 

La Salle hit one free throw to close the scoring in the half, with the Gator heading into the locker room with a 41-38 lead.

 

George had 10 points in those final eight minutes of the period, ending the stanza with 12 points and eight rebounds, helping UF to a 26-19 rebounding edge and a 24-14 lead in points in the paint.

 

 

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