Miami Falls to Florida in Second Round of NIT
March 20, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Nick Calathes couldn’t get Florida into the NCAA tournament. Now, he’s doing all he can to extend the season.
Calathes had 21 points, Alex Tyus added 13 points and 12 rebounds, and the Gators beat in-state rival Miami 74-60 in the second round of the NIT on Friday night.
Florida (25-10) improved to 18-1 at the O’Connell Center this season, tying a school record for home wins, and advanced to the tournament quarterfinals. The top-seeded Gators will host No. 2 seed Penn State on Tuesday night.
Miami (19-13) got behind early, trailing by 22 points in the first half. The Hurricanes cut the lead to 11 several times in the second half, but couldn’t get any closer.
Florida, much like it did in the first round against Jacksonville, got off to a strong start. The Gators made seven of their first 10 shots, including four from 3-point range, and led 20-2 with 11:36 to play in the first half.
Miami, meanwhile, missed nine of its first 10. The Hurricanes had hoped to get the ball down low and be physical against Florida, a tactic that worked for many Southeastern Conference teams this season.
But Miami’s first seven shots were from behind the arc. The Hurricanes missed their first eight 3-point attempts and finally got one to fall when McClinton hit with 9:35 remaining.
Nonetheless, the Gators opened up a 31-9 lead with 7:53 left.
The ‘Canes sliced the lead in half thanks mostly to 3s from McClinton, Lance Hurdle, Brian Asbury and Adrian Thomas. But Florida pushed it back to 48-32 at halftime on consecutive hustle plays from Ray Shipman. The freshman grabbed an offensive rebound and drove to the basket with less than a minute to play, then stole a pass in the lane and dribbled the other way in the closing seconds.
Chandler Parsons found Calathes wide open, and the point guard drained a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
The Gators shot a season-high 63 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes and were 8-of-16 from 3-point range. Calathes ended the half with 13 points, four rebounds and six assists.
The Hurricanes were outrebounded 37-25 and finished 7-of-25 from 3-point range. McClinton was 5-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-9 from behind the arc.
It was a bittersweet reunion for McClinton, who played against his former coach at Siena. McClinton played one year at Siena, where current Florida assistant Rob Lanier was the head coach — thus seeing both McClinton’s first and last collegiate game.