Lee tied a Southeastern Conference record Monday night, going a
perfect 12-for-12 to lift the 13th-ranked Gators to a 101-84
victory over Northeastern.
Lee, a junior, tied his career high with 24 points and became
the fifth SEC player to take a dozen shots and make every one. Most
came from inside the paint after good passes from Matt Walsh,
Christian Drejer and Anthony Roberson, who combined for the
majority of Florida's 30 assists.
Lee also hit one from the top of the key and a 14-footer from
"I was happy with the two outside shots I hit," he said.
"Other than that, there were a lot of good passes. I've been
working with the coaches on finishing strong."
The perfect night broke the school record of 10-for-10, set in
1981 by Randall Leath. The 12-for-12 SEC mark was last accomplished
by Jarrell Evans of Mississippi and Rodney Dent of Kentucky, both
And make no mistake, the Gators (7-2) needed every bit of Lee's
With a roster made up of seven players from Florida -- three more
than the Gators -- scrappy Northeastern (5-5) kept the game within
six points over the first 15 minutes.
The Huskies fell behind by as many as 26 midway through the
second half. But Florida got sloppy and went cold, failing to score
a field goal for eight minutes, and when Jose Juan Barea threw a
twisting, left-handed flyer in over Lee's outstretched hands,
Northeastern had pulled within nine with 9:23 remaining.
The teams traded buckets over the next few minutes. Not until
Roberson (17 points, five assists) strung together consecutive
assists, one to Adrian Moss, the next to Walsh (13 points, six
assists), did the Gators take a 92-77 lead and have the game in
hand with about 3 minutes left.
"They're very, very weak mentally," Florida coach Billy
Donovan said of his players. "When things don't go well for them
personally, they have to fight through that and show a better level
Northeastern showed most of the intensity Monday night.
Four Huskies are graduates of Miami High School. Another three
come from elsewhere in Florida. All were passed over, for one
reason or another, by Florida schools, and this was their one
chance to shine this season in their home state.
"I know what it means to these kids," Northeastern coach Ron
Everhart said. "They all wanted to come here and give great
effort. They all wanted to come here and play well. They all had
their families here. We don't get these opportunities very often."
Darting and dashing his way across the court, Barea finished
with 17 points and eight assists.
Marcus Barnes, who played at University of Miami before being
kicked off the team, led the Huskies with 20 points. He also won
the award for coolest shoes -- a pair of shiny, red, patent-leather
high tops with black shoelaces.
But the Huskies were much more than just flash. Northeastern
pressed and harassed the Gators into 21 turnovers. The Huskies ran
the floor better than the Gators and forced them to commit 26 fouls
and send them to the free throw line 36 times.
"The fact we kept fouling them, I almost felt like we were
looking for an easy way out in the second half," Donovan said.
Had the Huskies made more than 20 free throws -- that's 55
percent -- this could have been the Upset of the Week. Instead, it
was just a nice effort before they face Curry next Monday, then
start their America East Conference schedule Jan. 2.
Florida, which got 20 points from Drejer, plays Eastern Kentucky
on Saturday before what should be an interesting meeting, Jan. 3
against Florida State (10-1).
And while Lee can't get any better, Donovan is convinced the
rest of his team can.
"It is what it is," he said. "We've got a very young
basketball team. They're up and down."
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