Gators Conquer Aztecs in NIT Opener
Maybe Florida coach Billy Donovan will let his players back in their practice facility now. With Marreese Speights scoring a team-high 18 points, & freshman guard Nick Calathes adding 16 points, five rebounds and five assists, and the Gators snap a four-game losing streak with a 73-49 victory over San Diego State in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday night.
The second-seeded Gators (22-11) outrebounded the Aztecs 35-22 by making the most of their size advantage inside, hit seven 3-pointers, played solid defense throughout and won for the first time in three weeks. They advanced to play Creighton in the second round Friday.
Florida lost eight of its previous 11 games and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 10 years. Donovan responded by kicking his players out of the team's $12 million practice facility and banning them from wearing any Florida attire.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, in town to meet with some of Florida's draft-eligible players, sat next to football coach Urban Meyer for the game.
Fans in the student section tried to taunt Belichick with chants of "18 and 1" and "New York Giants." He didn't seem to notice.
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