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Walsh scores 20 points for Gator win

1/11/2004

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) made an important
Southeastern Conference game look more like an early season tuneup.

Matt Walsh scored 20 points Saturday and the Gators jumped on
Tennessee early for a 95-57 victory Saturday, the Gators' most
lopsided win in the 77-year history of the series.

"It's surprising, because in the SEC, you really don't expect
to beat anybody by what we beat them by," Florida guard Anthony
Roberson said.

Tennessee (9-2, 1-1) was coming off an impressive, 24-point win
over Georgia earlier this week, but the Volunteers couldn't handle
Florida's full-court press. They committed 20 turnovers.

Nor could Tennessee stop the Gators (11-2, 2-0) from taking
almost any shot they wanted. Florida shot 64.8 percent from the
field, and the victory -- Florida's sixth straight -- far surpassed
the 22-point margin that had stood as Florida's biggest in the
series, a 70-48 win in 1995.

Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson was impressed with the Gators.

"Florida's a very good team," he said. "We've got to keep our
heads up and stay positive and get ready for the next game."

Walsh scored 10 points in each half. David Lee had 17 points and
Roberson finished with 15 on 6-for-8 shooting.

"We came out really playing the way we wanted to play tonight,
and that's pressing and getting after them for 40 minutes," Lee
said. "When they'd get across halfcourt, we'd deny passes and
pressure the ball wherever it was on the court."

Scooter McFadgon, the SEC's leading scorer, went 3-for-13 for 12
points. The poor shooting performance brought back memories of his
3-for-22 effort in Tennessee's only other loss this season, to
Nebraska on Dec. 13.

C.J. Watson led Tennessee with 13 points, while Brandon Crump
had 11.

Crump, Tennessee's primary inside threat, was limited to two
shots during a first half in which Florida went ahead big early and
never looked back. In fact, the Gators kept piling on.

"The game got out of hand and we kept playing," Roberson said.
"We played the whole game today. We came out both halves and gave
energy. It was surprising."

In the first half, Roberson hit a 3-pointer as part of a 17-2
stretch during which the Gators made nine straight shots.

Lee made two free throws to put Florida ahead 38-14 with 7:30
left in the first half, and the rest of the game was spent pretty
much playing out the string. Tennessee never pulled closer than 16.
Florida coach Billy Donovan used all 11 scholarship players before
halftime.

Tennessee had more turnovers than field goals in both halves,
and trailed by as many as 40 points. This was the worst SEC road
defeat for Tennessee since a 101-40 loss to Kentucky in 1993.

"Our guys sold out today in terms of their effort, energy and
intensity," Donovan said. "Hopefully, we can still get better."