Toledo 58

(0-1, 0-1 away)

(19) Florida 80

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    6:00 PM ET, November 14, 2008

    Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida

    1 2 T
    TOL 27 3158
    #19FLA 39 4180

    Top Performers

    Toledo: J. Amos 22 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    Florida: N. Calathes 16 Pts, 4 Reb, 7 Ast, 3 Stl

    Werner, Calathes pace No. 19 Florida's pounding of Toledo

    Associated Press

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With stories about his online gambling debt circulating, Nick Calathes easily could have been distracted.

    He seemed unworried.

    Calathes had 16 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals, Dan Werner added 19 points and No. 19 Florida opened the season with an 80-58 victory over Toledo on Friday night.

    Fast Facts

    • Dan Werner led four Gators in double figures with 19 points, one shy of his career high, helping Florida cruise to its 18th straight season-opening win and improve to 51-6 in November under coach Billy Donovan.

    • Florida has now won 36 of its last 37 home games vs. unranked non-conference opponents.

    • Toledo has lost 16 straight non-conference road games and 17 of its last 18 road games overall.

    -- ESPN research

    "I don't think it fazed him at all," teammate Chandler Parsons said. "None of that stuff is true. He didn't let it affect him."

    The Gators, trying to rebound from missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade, won their 18th consecutive season opener and improved to 51-6 under coach Billy Donovan in November.

    More importantly, Florida looked much improved on defense. The Gators, who finished 10th in the Southeastern Conference in field-goal defense and ninth in rebounding last season, forced four 10-second violations and held the Rockets to 43.8 percent shooting.

    Jonathan Amos led Toledo with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists.

    Calathes was Florida's catalyst, despite a potential distraction.

    Calathes acknowledged truth to a story first reported by that said he ran up a $600 debt playing poker online, but was adamant he did nothing illegal.

    Donovan and athletic director Jeremy Foley agreed. Calathes said he wasn't sure how much money he owed.

    "I lost money," Calathes said. "I really don't know how much."

    Donovan said he heard rumors about Calathes' gambling debt, but an investigation by the school's athletic department found no evidence of wrongdoing.

    "The only thing I'm going to say about any of that stuff is the unfortunate part in all this is nobody on our team has done anything wrong," Donovan said. "It's amazing to me that stories can actually be written or talked about when someone's done nothing wrong.

    "We heard the rumors and we reacted to the rumors, responded to them, talked to Nick, talked to the team ... handled the whole situation. To me, it's not even a story. There's no story. Nobody did anything wrong."

    Foley said he was confident that Florida had "no eligibility issues" regarding the matter.

    Calathes was in the starting lineup against Toledo, which kept it close for most of the first half -- until Florida began making 3-pointers. The Gators missed their first eight shots from behind the arc, then reeled off four in row to spark a 16-2 run that started with about 3:30 to play and spanned halftime.

    Allan Chaney, one of four freshmen making their official debut for the Gators, started the 3-point barrage. Walter Hodge, Calathes and Werner followed.

    The Gators finished 7-of-19 from 3-point range and shot 53 percent from the floor. They were even better on defense, successfully pressing, forcing 25 turnovers and finishing with 12 steals.

    "I don't know if we're going to be able to press everybody like we did tonight, but I think the difference in the game for us was the pressure up the floor and forcing 25 turnovers," Donovan said.

    The press helped the Gators build a 56-31 early in the second half, and they cruised from there even with Adam Allen (knee) and Eloy Vargas (ankle) sitting out with injuries.

    "Their full-court pressure was tremendous," Toledo coach Gene Cross said. "You can't turn the ball over against teams and expect to win the game."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 58 80
    FG Made-Attempted 21-48 (.438) 27-51 (.529)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-13 (.385) 7-19 (.368)
    FT Made-Attempted 11-18 (.611) 19-27 (.704)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 3 25

    2008-09 Season

    » Nov 14, 2008 @FLA 80, TOL 58Recap