Scores

Final

Bethune-Cookman 64

(1-5, 1-0 MEAC)

(12) Florida 99

(10-2, 6-0 home)

    1:00 PM ET, December 28, 2002

    Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida

    1 2 T
    COOK 32 3264
    #12FLA 55 4499

    Freshman Walsh leads Gators with 29 points

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Matt Walsh didn't miss from long range.

    Walsh shot 7-for-7 from 3-pointer range and finished with 29 points to lead Florida (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) to a 99-64 victory over Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.

    "I felt good coming out,'' Walsh said. "I was just getting good shots. If I don't think I'm going to make a shot, I'm not going to shoot it.''

    Anthony Roberson added 22 points in a reserve role for Florida (10-2), which was coming off a lackluster 74-62 victory over Charleston Southern on Monday.

    "I really don't care how coach uses me,'' Roberson said. "Whenever coach puts me in, I know I've got to bring energy and bring my game to another level. I've got the role coming off the bench and I'm loving it right now.''

    The Gators have won 35 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents and improved to 28-2 in December over the past three seasons.

    "Coming into this game, I was concerned, but we came out with great energy,'' Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "We shot the ball better from the 3-point line, we pressed a little bit better and I think we got better with our half court defense.''

    Richard Toussaint had 15 points for Bethune-Cookman (1-5), which lost its fifth straight game to Florida. The Wildcats turned the ball over 26 times.

    "They are aggressive,'' Toussaint said. "They don't stop coming after you and they are really quick. They are going to give a lot of opponents trouble throughout the season.''

    Walsh scored 17 points in the first half as Florida built a 55-32 lead by the break.

    Walsh made three consecutive 3s in the opening three minutes of the second half as Florida extended its lead to 64-37.

    "The third one, I was feeling it,'' Walsh said.

    Brett Nelson hit a 3-pointer and Roberson added a jumper during a 9-0 run as Florida stretched its lead to 87-51 with seven minutes left.

    Walsh scored 11 points in a 15-2 run that put Florida ahead 21-8 six minutes into the game. He had two three-point plays, hit a 3-pointer and added a layup.

    Maurice Riddick made two 3-pointers to help Bethune-Cookman close within 23-17.

    Florida used a 12-3 run to push its lead to 35-20 at the 12-minute mark of the first half.

    "You have to give Florida credit,'' Bethune-Cookman coach Clifford Reed said. "They try to pressure you into making mistakes. We could have given up when we got down early, but we kept battling. There are some positives that we can take away from this game.''

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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