Thursday , Mar , 16 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Florida easily advances in win over South Alabama

Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) – Lee Humphrey scored a game-high 20 points
on 7-of-9 shooting to lead the Florida Gators past the South Alabama Jaguars,
76-50, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans
Memorial Arena.

Joakim Noah registered 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Al
Horford notched 14 points and 13 boards for third-seeded Florida (28-6), which
will play 11th-seeded Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who upset sixth-seeded Oklahoma
earlier in the day, in the second round Saturday.

Leandro Buboltz led the Jaguars with 14 points and Mario Jointer contributed
10 points and seven rebounds for 14th-seeded South Alabama (24-7), which had
its eight-game winning streak snapped.

Ahead by six at the break, Florida, which never trailed, extended its lead to
nine early in the second half after Humphrey connected on a three-pointer. The
Gators systematically pulled away throughout the rest of the half.

A jumper by Horford pushed the Gators lead to 38-28, another three from
Humphrey extended the margin to 11. A dunk by Horford made it 48-34 with 11:42
to play.

Another three from Humphrey with about eight minutes remaining gave the Gators
a 60-42 lead and a dunk by Chris Richard with about 5 1/2 minutes to play
upped Florida’s lead to 21 at 68-47.

The Gators’ final margin of victory came thanks to a 14-3 flurry over the
final five minutes as South Alabama never threatened.

A three-pointer from Walter Hodge gave Florida an early 14-7 lead before three
straight three’s from Buboltz sandwiched a three from Humphrey and a bucket
from Noah to pull the Jaguars within three at 19-16. A Demetric Bennett bucket
pulled South Alabama within one at 19-18 with 5:50 to play in the first half.

But Florida responded with a 10-0 burst highlighted by two three-pointers from
Corey Brewer to give the Gators a 29-18 lead. A dunk by Noah followed a bucket
by the Jags and pushed Florida’s lead to 31-20 before South Alabama scored the
last five points of the opening stanza to get within 31-25 at halftime.

Game Notes

Brewer scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Florida…The Gators
advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in
eight years…Florida took a 2-1 lead over South Alabama in their all-time
series…This was the first time the two schools have met since
1999-00…Florida made its eighth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 14th
overall…South Alabama fell to 1-7 in the tourney, notching its lone win in
1989 over Alabama.