Gators Rebound, Beat Hoyas


It had all the makings of a disastrous trip to the Maui Invitational for No. 6 Florida .

The Gators struggled in a 60-58 opening-round win over Utah State. Then lost to No. 22 Purdue by 11 in a semifinal game that saw coach Billy Donovan sit both his point guards for almost the entire second half because he was upset with their ability to get their teammates involved.

On Wednesday, Donovan suspended forward Brent Wright, a two-year starter, for his "attitude."

The Gators (3-1) shook off all that for a 72-62 victory over Georgetown in the third-place game.

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  • "We're a tired team from the long trip here and playing three games in a short period of time. I think mentally and physically we're wiped out right now," Donovan said. "This was great for the team because they faced adversity away from practice and I'm happy with the way they responded."

    Mike Miller went 5-for-5 from 3-point range and scored 18 points to lead Florida, which struggled from long range in their first two games of the tournament, going a combined 11-for-49.

    Miller was 2-for-10 in those games and his last 3 against Georgetown (2-2) gave the Gators the lead for good at 58-55 with 4:25 to play.

    "There was no difference, we just weren't shooting well," Miller said. "We just need to shoot with confidence and today they just went in that's all."

    Donovan said he was happy with the play of sophomore Teddy Dupay and freshman Brett Nelson, who watched the second half of the loss to Purdue from the bench.

    "They bot played better than they did against Purdue," Donovan said.

    Dupay had two assists, four turnovers and took four shots in 34 minutes against Georgetown, while Nelson had two assists, five turnovers and took six shots in 20 minutes against the Hoyas. Against Purdue they combined for one assist and took 15 shots.

    "They were more concerned with passing today," Donovan said.

    Donovan said Wright is not off the team, just suspended.

    "I don't know what his situation is, that's up to Brent," Donovan said. "He needs to make a decision as to fulfilling his role on this basketball team."

    Kenyan Weaks scored on a tip-in with 3:15 left for a 60-55 lead, and Florida closed out the game by going 12-for-14 from the free-throw line.

    Miller was the only Gator to solve the shooting woes, however, as the rest of the team went 2-for-13 from beyond the arc.

    "Everyone is still learning their roles," Miller said. "We're learning to play as a team and when we do we'll show that top five status can be reached."

    Georgetown, which lost to No. 4 North Carolina 85-79 in the semifinals, went up 49-42 with 13:12 to play when Anthony Perry made the last of his four 3-pointers in the second half. Weaks scored on a baseline floater and Miller hit a 3 to make it 49-47 with 11:00 left.

    A dunk by Donnell Harvey pulled Florida to 51-49 with 10:16 left and neither team scored for the next 4:28 as the toll of three games in as many days in the a very hot Lahaina Civic Center seemed to be taking its toll.

    "I think North Carolina and Florida are good teams and I think we are a good team but if we're to take the next step to be considered that good, we have to beat them," Georgetown coach Craig Esherick said. "We showed we can play with those teams but we have to close the games out."

    Harvey had 14 points for Florida, while Udonis Haslem had 13 and Weaks 10. Harvey and Matt Bonner each had nine rebounds, while Miller grabbed eight as Florida outrebounded the Hoyas 41-33.

    Kevin Braswell finished with 23 points for the Hoyas, while Perry had 19 and Jameel Watkins 10.

    "The mental mistakes cost us big at the end of the game," Watkins said.

    Georgetown shot 39 percent from the field (22-for-57), including 8-for-24 from 3-point range.

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