Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Get Physical in 80-53 Win N.C.-Wilmington Gives UF Taste of SEC Style

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Get Physical in 80-53 Win N.C.-Wilmington Gives UF Taste of SEC Style

Article excerpt

GAINESVILLE -- The elbow came so fast and so furious, it knocked Dominick Scott face down on the floor of the O'Connell Center.

The eighth-ranked Florida Gators got their first taste of Southeastern Conference-style play last night, complete with physical play and a nasty incident late in a 80-53 victory over North Carolina-Wilmington in front of 7,776 fans.

An inadvertent elbow from UF center Donnell Harvey left Scott with a concussion and the Gators with an understanding of what's ahead. The SEC season is less than two weeks away, but UF better get used to what they saw last night.

Slow tempo, tough defense, tight games.

"A lot of people in the SEC are going to try to play us like this," said UF forward Mike Miller. "I think we showed we can play this kind of style."

For a half, at least. The Gators (9-1) needed a second-half outburst to put away the Seahawks (6-2) and continue their home dominance of non-conference opponents.

Florida's seven-game winning streak is its longest in 11 years, since the 1988-89 team won eight in a row during the Gators' only SEC championship season. This one, however, didn't come easy, despite the 27-point final margin.

The Gators struggled with Wilmington's style of play for much of the first half, shooting only 39 percent from the field and looking sluggish for much of the 20 minutes. But UF used a 21-9 run to begin the second half to put the game away.

Wilmington, which has wins over Old Dominion and Washington this season, is the best non-conference team on the home schedule this season. It showed last night before Miller (20 points, 4 assists) and Kenyan Weaks (20 points, 3 steals) took over in the second half.

Weaks became the 31st player in Florida history to reach 1,000 points when he hit a three-pointer early in the second half. …

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