|Two-time defending champion Gators hammer Flager 97-51 with rebuilt roster|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 01 November 2007 16:39|
The Gators played their first game in four years without Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, Al Horford and Joakim Noah. The juniors helped the team win three consecutive Southeastern Conference tournament titles and back-to-back national championships, then bolted for the NBA.
Coach Billy Donovan was left with nine scholarship players: a junior, three sophomores and five freshmen.
All the freshmen scored in double figures in their debut, led by Calathes - a McDonald's All-American and Florida's Mr. Basketball the last two years.
Fellow freshman Chandler Parsons scored 18 points, Alex Tyus added 12 points and nine rebounds, Jai Lucas had 11 points and Adam Allen chipped in 10.
Florida won't have the inside dominance it had the last two years with Horford and Noah, but the 6-foot-10 Speights provided some presence down low.
He was 10-of-13 from the field, making the most of a height advantage against the Division II Saints, whose tallest player was 3 inches shorter than Speights. The Gators outrebounded Flagler 59-33.
Florida showed plenty of outside shooting ability, finishing 8-of-24 from behind the arc. Calathes led the way with four 3-pointers. Parsons was 3-for-3.
John Pietkiewicz led Flagler with 12 points.