for this game

Horford's career high leads Florida over Providence

Dec 7, 2006 - 2:59 AM GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Al Horford came out a more determined player.

Horford scored a career-high 21 points and Joakim Noah added 17 as seventh-ranked Florida bounced back from its second loss of the season with an 85-67 victory over Providence.

In the 70-66 upset loss to intrastate rival Florida State on Sunday, Horford appeared lost at times, finishing with a season-low four points and just six rebounds in 26 minutes before fouling out.

The junior center imparted his will after the break in this one, scoring 15 points to help pull away from a 40-34 halftime lead.

The Gators increased that six-point lead at the break to 14 after putting together a 10-2 run over the opening 4:15. They also had a 14-0 run later in the stanza, pulling ahead, 67-45, with 7:52 remaining. Horford and Noah combined for nine points during that burst.

"After our loss we came out and wanted to make a statement," Horford said. "We didn't play our best at Florida State and we just wanted to bounce back. I feel like I didn't bring enough energy. You can make excuses, but at the end of the day I have to be able to bring it for the team."

Horford finished 8-of-13 from the field in recording his fourth double-double of the season and also handed out three assists.

Bothered by flu-like symptoms in the previous two games, Noah appeared much healthier, shooting 6-of-7 from the field, collecting four steals and blocking three shots.

"The frontcourt played how they were supposed to," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I was very pleased with our guys because recently they have been pretty down with illnesses and other issues, and tonight they fought hard and had a good win."

The Gators (8-2) played their third straight game without starting forward Corey Brewer, who is sidelined with mononucleosis.

Lee Humphrey scored 12 points and Taurean Green and Walter Hodge added 10 apiece for Florida, which shot 55 percent (29-of-53) and held a 46-38 advantage in points in the paint.

Chris Richard scored 11 points off the bench for the Gators, who captured their 20th consecutive victory against a non-conference foe at home. That streak is one win shy of tying the second-longest run of that type in school history. The starting point guard when Providence last made the Final Four in 1987, Donovan improved to 4-0 against his alma mater.

Weyinmi Efejuku scored 22 points for the Friars (6-2), who turned the ball over 16 times and reached the free-throw line just eight times, compared to 26 trips for the Gators.

Sharaud Curry finished with 15 points and Geoff McDermott had 11 and 10 rebounds for Providence, which was outrebounded, 35-28, in having a five-game winning streak snapped.

    --- --- -----
    PROVIDENCE 34 33 67
    FLORIDA (7) 40 45 85 FINAL

    Dec 6 9:00 PM


    Dec 6 7:51 PM