(10) Florida 87

(8-0, 2-0 away)

Providence 77

(3-3, 2-1 home)

    7:30 PM ET, December 6, 2005

    Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island

    1 2 T
    #10FLA 47 4087
    PROV 34 4377

    Top Performers

    Florida: C. Brewer 14 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    Providence: S. Curry 20 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl

    Gators improve to 8-0 with win at Donovan's old haunt

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Billy Donovan could not have imagined a better homecoming.

    The Florida coach and former Providence star was first honored in a pregame ceremony. Then, his team mimicked his reputation as a long-range gunner and made nine 3-pointers to beat Providence 87-77 on Tuesday.

    Donovan starred on Rick Pitino's Providence team that reached the Final Four in 1987, and still ranks 15th on the school's career scoring list. He was presented with a framed photo collage of his days as a player, and received a standing ovation.

    "I got choked up," Donovan said. "When 19 years passes by and you go back, to hear the people cheering the way they did and to honor me that way, I was extremely humbled. I was shocked, taken back, and I didn't expect anything like that."

    Taurean Green led the way with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, as Florida (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10) matched the team's best start since it opened 10-0 in 1951. Corey Brewer and Al Horford each added 14 points.

    The Gators, who led 47-34 at halftime, scored the first six points of the second half and Providence never got closer than the final score.

    Florida opened the game with an 11-0 run, taking advantage of Providence's struggles on offense. The Friars missed their first 10 shots and committed five turnovers -- Randall Hanke ended the drought with an inside basket with 13:42 left in the first half.

    Providence pulled within six points at 20-14 on a jumper by DeSean White, but Florida pulled away on a 17-2 run -- fueled by two 3-pointers from Green and one each by Lee Humphrey and Brewer.

    A 3-pointer by Donnie McGrath drew Providence to 40-34 with 57 seconds left, but Florida went on a 7-0 run capped by Green's 3 at the buzzer.

    Providence coach Tim Welsh thought Florida's opening burst set his team back.

    "It felt like three games out there," he said. "They blitzed us from the get-go. The game got out of hand, then we came back. We made too many mental and physical mistakes against a team that's so well-schooled and plays together."

    Florida had five players score in double figures and shot 50.9 percent for the game -- just below its season average of 52.9 percent. Providence shot just 25-for-62 for 40.3 percent.

    Green said the players knew the game had special meaning to their coach.

    "We couldn't come here and lose to his alma mater," said Green, who scored all his field goals on 3-pointers. "We stuck with our game plan and played hard."

    Sharaud Curry scored all 20 of his points in the second half for Providence (3-3). Hanke, the Friars' leading scorer at 16 points a game, was held to eight.

    Hanke, held out of the starting lineup for the first time this season, said Donovan's return did not affect the team's performance.

    "It was just about getting the win," Hanke said. "We knew we could play with them -- we showed that tonight. We just didn't get the results we wanted."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 87 77
    FG Made-Attempted 27-53 (.509) 25-62 (.403)
    3P Made-Attempted 9-19 (.474) 8-22 (.364)
    FT Made-Attempted 24-26 (.923) 19-24 (.792)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 22 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 21 0

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 6, 2005 FLA 87, @PROV 77Recap