(23) Florida 81

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Jacksonville 59

(0-1, 0-1 home)

    8:00 PM ET, November 19, 2004

    1 2 T
    #23FLA 43 3881
    JAC 32 2759

    Top Performers

    Florida: A. Roberson 19 Pts, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Jacksonville: D. Lee 15 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast

    Gators beat 24th straight in-state opponent

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida coach Billy Donovan spent the last month talking about his team's added depth. He finally got to show it Friday night.

    Anthony Roberson scored 19 points, David Lee added 15 points and 10 rebounds and the Gators (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today; No. 23 AP) routed Jacksonville 81-59 in the season opener for both teams.

    The Gators -- with nine guys playing double-digit minutes -- won their 14th consecutive opener and extended their winning streak against in-state opponents to 24.

    "We've got a very deep team," Lee said. "We were only seven deep last season, and with the style of play we have, the starters needed to play about 35 minutes a game. Now we have depth and we're going to be tough to beat down the stretch."

    The Gators used a 10-0 run midway through the first half to move ahead for good, then extended the lead to 21 points with another 10-0 spurt to start the second. And a team known for relying on 3-pointers didn't even need them.

    Florida finished 6-of-16 from beyond the arc.

    "There was only one way for us to win last season: we had to shoot the ball well. That's the hand we were dealt," Donovan said. "That's not the case this year."

    Jacksonville, coming off consecutive losing seasons, cut the lead to 58-47 midway through the second half on back-to-back 3-pointers by B.J. Surry. But Roberson answered with his second trey, and the Gators made their free throws down the stretch to rule out a comeback.

    Florida's Matt Walsh finished with 14 points, and freshman Corey Brewer had nine points, five rebounds and five steals as the Gators used 11 of their 12 scholarship players. Only Joakim Noah, who has missed some practice time with mononucleosis, didn't play.

    "The biggest difference this year is I don't feel like there's a lot of drop-off when I sub," Donovan said.

    David Lee, another player with the same name, led Jacksonville with 15 points. Surry added 12 off the bench.

    Florida began the season with its lowest preseason ranking since 2000 -- possibly a reflection of being knocked out early in the last three NCAA tournaments. The Gators were upset by Manhattan in the first round last year.

    But the team's expectations are as high as ever. The Gators returned their top three scorers -- Walsh, Roberson and Lee -- and added another strong recruiting class.

    Donovan, no longer "Billy the Kid" as he is nearing 40 years old and is now the longest tenured coach in the Southeastern Conference, also brought in an assistant -- former Clemson coach Larry Shyatt -- to hopefully improve team defense. That was Florida's biggest weakness in the recent tournament flops.

    Shyatt, who also coached at Wyoming, has a reputation of building strong defenses.

    His debut went well.

    The Gators had a productive press and gave up few easy baskets. They also held Jacksonville to two field goals over the final 12:28 in the first half.

    "Our guards got taken to the woodshed," Jacksonville coach Hugh Durham said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 81 59
    FG Made-Attempted 28-57 (.491) 20-41 (.488)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-16 (.375) 6-13 (.462)
    FT Made-Attempted 19-25 (.760) 13-20 (.650)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 24 3

    2004-05 Season

    » Nov 19, 2004 FLA 81, @JAC 59Recap