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Calathes helps Florida top Southern Utah

Nov 21, 2008 - 6:22 AM GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Nick Calathes scored 18 points as No. 19 Florida overcame a poor shooting night to post a 64-50 victory over Southern Utah on Thursday.

The Gators shot 1-of-16 from beyond the arc and 17-of-27 from the free-throw line but pulled away early in the second half and managed to keep a comfortable margin the rest of the way.

Leading, 33-25, at the break, Florida used an 10-2 run to break open the game. Allan Chaney had four points during the spurt and finished with six off the bench.

Florida forced 21 turnovers, including six during its surge at the beginning of the second half.

Southern Utah cut it to 50-38 on Davis Baker's layup with 6:45 left, but Calathes came right back with a layup that sparked a 14-8 run and put the game away.

Baker led the way with 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting for the Thunderbirds, who shot 43 percent (21-of-49).

Calathes gave Florida its first lead with a jumper in the opening half that sparked a 10-0 run. He scored four more points as the Gators extended the run to 16-4 and took the lead for good.

Dan Werner hit Florida's lone 3-pointer late in the second half and finished with nine points and six rebounds while Alex Tyus and Kenny Kadji chipped in eight points apiece.

"Good thing I made it, huh?" Werner said after keeping alive the Gators' streak of 546 straight games with a 3-pointer.

The lone senior on Florida this season, Walter Hodge, had a tough night, going 0-of-4 from the floor and finishing with one point.

Jake Nielson had eight points and Mike Josserand dished out six assists for Southern Utah.

The Thunderbirds made their way to the free-throw line just five times, knocking down three attempts. They hit 5-of-16 from beyond the arc.

"I think this was an important game for our continued development and growth," Donovan said. "Last year, in a game like this, we wouldn't have played any defense. Tonight, I thought we did a pretty good job on the press and holding them to what we held them from the floor and from the 3-point line."