Speights, Florida roll over North FloridaNov 21, 2007 - 5:20 AM GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- So far, there has not been much letdown in Florida.
Marreese Speights scored 20 points and pulled down 13 rebounds as the Gators cruised to a 102-51 victory over in-state rival North Florida on Tuesday.
Walter Hodge and Nick Calathes scored 14 points apiece for Florida, which outrebounded the Ospreys, 44-25.
After capturing back-to-back national titles the past two seasons, starters Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Taurean Green along with sixth man Chris Richards all left for the NBA and starting guard Lee Humphrey graduated, leaving the Gators with five freshman and three sophomores joining the junior Hodge in coach Billy Donovan's rotation.
Speights, a sophomore forward who averaged four points per game in limited action last season, has become the go-to man in the frontcourt, and converted 7-of-10 field goals against North Florida.
The Ospreys scored the first bucket of the game when James Grimball made a layup 41 seconds into the game. But that was about all the good news for North Florida, which watched Florida rip off a 9-0 run and cruise to a 59-22 lead at the half.
"We were outplayed in every way by a very talented Florida team," North Florida coach Matt Kilcullen said. "They came out with a tremendous intensity, and we failed to match it. We just got manhandled. We have to put this behind us and move on. There isn't much we can take from this, so we won't dwell on it."
Hodge led the way in the early going, scoring all 14 of his points in the opening half. Florida shot 61.5 percent (16-of-26) in the first 20 minutes while limiting the Ospreys to just 25 percent (7-of-28).
Florida's largest lead of the contest came with 3:29 remaining in the game when freshman forward Chandler Parsons' layup extended the lead to 95-43. Parsons finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Freshman DeVon Jones led North Florida with 12 points and Chris Timberlake added 11.
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