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Roberson scores 22 to pace Gators' rout

12/27/2003

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The shots were falling, the opponent
was overmatched, and No. 13 Florida looked as good as ever.

Anthony Roberson scored 22 points Saturday to lift the Gators to
a 109-63 victory over Eastern Kentucky, their last laugher before
the tough tests begin.

"We came out tonight and played the way I hoped we'd play all
the time," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

If they could, the Gators would be favorites to win the national title.

Of course, no team can keep up the kind of shooting display the
Gators (8-2) put on in their final tuneup before things get
significantly more difficult -- beginning next Saturday against
Florida State (10-1), and continuing Jan. 7 when the Southeastern
Conference schedule begins.

Florida shot 64.6 percent to finish above 60 percent for the
third time this season, and second this week.

Typical on a night in which everything seemed to fall, freshman
Lee Humphrey made his first three 3-pointers and finished with 11
points.

Then, there was David Lee, who followed a 12-for-12 night Monday
against Northeastern with a 4-for-4 game Saturday. In all, Lee, who
finished with eight points, has made 17 straight shots and has gone
62 minutes, spanning three games, since his last miss.

"You come into a game like this, and you've just got to hope
they're not making shots," said Eastern Kentucky coach Travis
Ford, a one-time guard at Kentucky. "It sure wasn't the case
tonight."

Pressing to force 23 turnovers, Florida led by as many as 51
points against the Colonels (3-6), an Ohio Valley Conference team
that lost 101-72 to top-ranked Kentucky on Monday.

Matt Witt led Eastern Kentucky with 14 points. Jon Bentley had
12 points, a total that could have been better had Ford not pulled
him for a big chunk of the second half after a defensive mixup that
led to a three-point play by Matt Walsh (15 points).

But really, the Colonels had no defense for bigger, faster and
better-shooting Florida. Humphrey, who has worked his way into the
rotation the last few games, sparked the Gators early, hitting all
his 3-pointers in the first half.

"Coach has been on me to be more aggressive on offense," said
Humphrey, who was named the high school Mr. Basketball for Class
AAA in Tennessee last season. "It's starting to take effect."

His first 3-pointer gave the Gators a 23-17 lead. It triggered a
45-18 run to end the half. Florida had 11 assists and one turnover
during the stretch. Up to then, the Gators had five assists against
seven turnovers.

While the great ballhandling (27 assists) helped explain some of
the good shooting, there were other signs that this was just one of
those nights. Center Adrian Moss, a 6-foot-9 banger, spotted up for
and hit a 3-pointer in the first half.

Lee, whose hot streak has mostly come from the paint, swished a
17-footer.

Christian Drejer, a 6-9 swingman getting extensive time at point
guard, toyed with his smaller opponents, scooping and swooping his
way to 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting.

The star of it all was Roberson, who scored 20 points in the
first half, including a layup that came after he picked Eastern
Kentucky guard Ben Rushing clean while pressing.

"He played 13 minutes and scored like 20 points," Donovan
said. "I don't think in his entire life that he exerted so much
energy. He played so hard. He made things happen. He's got to do
that constantly for us, with that type of effort."

The Gators finished with 13 steals in this, their third straight win since dropping from No. 1 in the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls after consecutive losses to Maryland and Louisville.