GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Marreese Speights had 24 points and 15 rebounds, both career highs, and Florida ended its non-conference schedule with an 88-70 victory over High Point on Wednesday night.
The 6-foot-10 Speights made the most of his height advantage, getting the majority of his points in the paint.Nick Calathes added 15 points and six assists for the Gators (13-2) and Jonathan Mitchell chipped in 12 points.The game was Florida's final tuneup before beginning Southeastern Conference play, and coach Billy Donovan still might not know what to expect from his young team.The Gators lost to Florida State and Ohio State, the two toughest tests on a soft early season slate. Florida's strength of schedule ranked 336 out of 341 in the latest Sagarin rankings.Donovan organized the schedule that way in hopes of getting his rebuilt roster some experience and confidence before conference play began.High Point (6-6) kept this one closer than most expected, especially since the Gators won the previous two meetings by 49 and 54 points.The Panthers trailed 50-34 at halftime, but cut the lead to seven twice in the second half, the last one at 61-54 with about 12 minutes to play.But the Gators quickly turned to Speights, who finished 10-of-14 from the field. Speights had a dunk, a short turnaround shot in the post and then made two free throws to push the lead to 75-58. The Gators kept the lead the rest of the way.Arizona Reid led High Point with 22 points and nine rebounds.High Point was 9-of-21 from 3-point range and shot 40 percent from the field.The Gators were considerably better, making 10 3s and shooting 54 percent from the floor. They also held a 41-27 rebounding advantage -- thanks mostly to Speights.