Gators Get Revenge, 85-71
Dec. 16, 2000
SUNRISE, Fla. - Udonis Haslem scored 27 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as the No. 8 ranked University of Florida Gators extracted some revenge on Gonzaga University with a 85-71 victory in the second game of the 2000 Orange Bowl Classic. In the opening game the University of Nebraska defeated host University of Miami, 72-64.
After opening the game with a bucket by Mark Spink, Gonzaga would have to wait nearly 8 and a half minutes before a Bulldog player could knock down a field goal. At the same time Florida opened the game redhot pulling out to a 19-6 advantage behind the inside presence of Haslem and the outside shooting of Brent Nelson.
Gonzaga finally broke the string at the 11:15 mark as Casey Calvary banked home a shot from the right side. Gonzaga would answer with several quick baskets and close the gap. The Zags moved to within in 9 points as Germayne Forbes recorded a steal and pushed the ball up court. Calvary then banged home the first of his 3-point baskets on the evening cutting the Gator lead to 37-28. Florida's Brent Nelson then sank a 3-pointer at the 2:47 mark putting the Gators up in front 40-28.
Gonzaga had several chances to get under the 10-point barrier heading into halftime as they trimmed the Gator lead to 42-32 with 1:18 remaining. The Florida pressure which forced 19 Bulldog turnovers forced two crucial Gonzaga turnovers in the final minute giving the Gators a 44-32 halftime cushion.
In the opening five minutes of the second half Florida pushed their lead out with a 14-7 Gonzaga run. Gonzaga fought back all afternoon to move under the 10-point barrier but could never get over the hump. Blake Stepp moved the Zags to within 11 points at the 9:51 mark as he knocked down one of his five 3-point baskets on the evening. Stepp played all 40 minutes against the Gators as Dan Dickau missed his third consecutive game with a broken finger. Dickau is expected to return to the Bulldogs lineup for the Monmouth University game on December 30.
Gonzaga made one final push in the contest as they cut the lead to 78-66 behind Germayne Forbes two free throws and 3-point bucket at the 5:19 mark. Udonis Haslem then put the seal on the game with a three-point play as he matched a career high with 27 points and earned game MVP honors.
Gonzaga drops its second game in a row and falls to 5-3 on the season. Calvary and Stepp led the Zags with 18 points each and Zach Gourde chipped in 10 points. Germayne Forbes contributed his best game of the season with 7 points.
Florida improves to 6-1 on the year as Haslem led all scorers with 27 points and a game high 10 rebounds. He hit 11-of-14 free throws as the Gators made 27-of-31 from the charity stripe. Brent Wright added 17 points and Brent Nelson finished with 15.
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