The Gators hammered the Miami Hurricanes on Friday to move onto the NIT quarterfinals. Allan Chaney is suspended. Chandler Parsons came off the bench again.
GAINESVILLE -- Well, that was a beat down.
Florida defeated Miami 74-60 on Friday night at the O'Connell Center. If you want to read my game story in The Herald, then CLICK ME! The game story had a Miami slant because I had to report on UM coach Frank Haith's responses to my questions about his job status in Miami. So, with that out of the way, we'll use the blog to focus on all things Gators.
As I mentioned in the game story, Florida will play host to Penn State at 9 p.m. on Tuesday. It will be the final home game of the season and the final home game for senior Walter Hodge, who will finish his career as UF's record holder for all-time wins. A win on Tuesday in the quarterfinals means the Gators are headed back to Madison Square Garden in New York for the semifinals of the NIT.
[PICTURED: Nice tie, Billy.]
There's a little bit of news to report before we analyze Friday's win. Florida freshman forward Allan Chaney has been suspended from the team, according to UF coach Billy Donovan, for violating team rules. Donovan wouldn't say what Chaney did to find himself in the doghouse. Chaney was not on the bench on Friday night. Will Chaney be back next season? Let the speculation begin.
With three incoming freshmen joining the team next season (6-2 shooting guard Kenny Boynton, Jr., 6-9 center Deshawn Painter and 6-10 power forward Erik Murphy), Florida will be one scholarship over the NCAA scholarship limit (13) if all of its players return. And keep in mind that Florida is still recruiting a point guard or two (6-0 Eric Bledsoe of Birmingham Parker and 6-4 Rico Pickett of Miami-Dade College/University of Alabama) for the class of 2009. If Florida signs one of those players, then the Gators will have to make even more room on their roster. Of course, if Florida signs another guard, that also might mean that Nick Calathes is going to turn pro.
[PICTURED: I guy with a big decision to make.]
But I digress, someone has to go and it might be Chaney, considering he has been banned from the Gators' bench. OK, onto the game...
Florida shot 63 percent in the first half on Friday, a season best. Why couldn't Florida play this well last week? From the singular and grossly selfish perspective of a sportswriter, I'd much rather be covering the NCAA Tournament right now than the NIT. I'm sure a few Gators fans out there would agree with me on that. But we're stuck with the NIT, a tournament the Gators have flourished in over the past two seasons. The Gators are how 5-1 in the NIT since winning back-to-back national championships. Think about it this way: Florida is 17-1 in the postseason over the past four years. That's pretty good, right?
But I digress, again ... back to the game, again ... Calathes led the Gators with 21 points and added seven assists and six rebounds. Florida had 20 assists on Friday (but did commit 16 turnovers). After the game, Miami coach Frank Haith said of Calathes, "I think he's as good a point guard as there is in the country. If there is a guy who can pass the ball better than him, I want to see him."
UF sophomore forward Chandler Parsons came off the bench for the second straight night and played well for the second straight night. He had seven points, four rebounds and five assists in 22 minutes.
[PICTURED: Miami's Dewayne Collins wondering how long it took Chandler to grow that beard.]
UF reserve forward Ray Shipman also played well in a limited role. He had two points, three rebounds and one important steal at the end of the first half.
Florida jumped out to a quick 20-2 lead and held Miami to 28 percent from three-point range throughout the game. Florida out-rebounded Miami 37-25. UF center Alex Tyus had 13 rebounds to go along with 12 points. Forward Dan Werner had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists.
"If we start any game like that, we're tough to beat," Werner said. "We stepped up and took some charges. It was all because of our defense."
Said Calathes: "I think our big guys were playing a lot more physical and that's better for our team."