Friday , Mar , 17 , 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 first-round action of the Minneapolis bracket of the NCAA

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.