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Florida Gators 64, Southern Utah 50

GAME STORY LINK from today's paper.

GAINESVILLE -- It wasn't pretty but UF earned its third win of the season Thursday night, defeating Southern Utah 64-50. UF made just one of 16 3-point attempts. Nick Calathes led the Gators with 18 points.

UF coach Billy Donovan was surprisingly pleased with the effort. Afterwards, he credited his team with playing great defense. The Gators foreced 21 turnovers and had 14 steals. UF freshman Ray Shipman of Miami Monsignor Pace had four steals in 13 minutes.

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UF still hasn't made a 3-point basket but leads SUU 48-38 with 7:48 left in the game. Timeout on the court and UF coach Billy Donovan slammed his dry-erase board on the floor to fire up his players. Ugly game here at the O'Dome.

--UF playing aggressively to begin the second. The Gators, back in their full-court defense, forced two straight Utah turnovers with 16:14 left in the game. UF off to a 9-0 run to take a 42-27 lead.

--Ray Shipman with a steal on an SUU inbounds to convert an easy dunk. Shipman's first points of the night. UF 39, SUU 27 (18:05).

--UF freshman center Kenny Kadji with a nice turnaround off the glass to start the first half. Kadji with eight points and playing the best basketball of his young career.

HALFTIME: One halftime stat really jumps off the box score tonight. UF didn't make a 3-pointer (0-of-8) in the first half. (UF made 13 3-pointers in its last win.) Calathes with nine points in the first half. Alex Tyus and Kenny Kadji with six each.

SUU ends the first half with an 8-0 run led by some point guard (Mike Josserand, PICTURED) that looks like the hillbilly from Deliverance. UF 33, Southern Utah 25 (52.9 seconds left in half). No joke, this kid is playing basketball with braces and no mouthpiece. What a baller.

--UF forward Dan Werner with his second bucket of the game to give UF a double-digit lead. UF up 31-17 with five minutes left in the first half. Nick Calathes leading the Gators with nine points. Center Alex Tyus with six.

--UF freshman center Kenny Kadji with the first dunk of his career (11:08). Kadji with four points in the first half. UF trying to a full-court press but it's not really working. Why switch to full-court defense when SUU can't make a bucket in its half-court set? UF 19, Southern Utah 12 (8:48).

--Dan Werner goes inside with a lay-up (11:58). UF on an ugly 8-0 run. SUU hasn't scored in nearly five minutes. UF leads 13-6 with 11:40 left.

--UF is 1 of 6 from the free-throw line with 12:42 left in the first. Pretty bad effort at the charity stripe so far. Freshman Erving Walker just clanged a pair.

--Miami's Ray Shipman in the game with 14:09 left and immediately helps force Southern Utah to call an emergency timeout to avoid a 10 second violation. Shipman played at Miami Monsignor Pace.

--UF leading Southern Utah 11-6 with 14:26 left in the first half. SUU is trying to slow down the game but its not working. The T-Birds can't make a jumper, shooting 3 of 9 from the floor. UF center Alex Tyus leads the Gators with four points and three rebounds.

--Florida playing the Southern Utah Thunderbirds tonight. Trivia question: Are there any other college mascots that share the name of a low-end fortified wine? In related news, the Gators are playing like winos to begin the game.

-jo-

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