Gators Rebound Against Temple

The Florida Gators bounced back nicely from both a tough loss at Ohio State and a layoff to hold off Temple, 86-69, in the Orange Bowl Classic in South Florida. Marreese Speights led the way for the Gators tying a career high with 20 points.

The Gators (12-2) did it on both ends in defeating one of college basketball's most storied teams. Temple (6-6) hung with the Gators for much of the first half, trailing by only three points at halftime. But a 15-3 Florida run midway through the second half extended the UF lead and the Owls never came close after that. Florida shoot 61 percent from the floor while holding Temple to only 47 percent shooting.

After finishing on a strong note against Ohio State, Jonathan Mitchell had a career game for the Gators, scoring 15 points and pulling down four rebounds. Florida dominated the Owls on the glass, outrebounding Temple 37-21. The Florida bench also outscored Temple 29-19.

Both teams exchanged baskets for the first seven minutes, but the Gators opened it up, building a 10-point lead with 10 minutes left in the first half. Florida received scoring from six different Gators but were led by a couple of jumpers from Speights and four three-pointers.

Temple's leading scorer Dionte Christmas kept it close before the break, however, dropping in 18 first half points. The Owls closed out the half on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to three points heading into the locker room. Christmas finished with a game-high 32 points.

Florida struggled from behind the arc against the Buckeyes, but against the Owls, they were lights out from the outside. The Gators hit 11-of-19 from three-point range led by Mitchell who was a perfect 3-of-3. Walter Hodge, Parsons and Dan Werner also knocked down two apiece from long range.

Nick Calathes finished with 14 points despite a slow start, scoring four points in the first half. Five different Gators scored in double figures. Hodge and Parsons both scored 12 points joining Speights, Calathes and Mitchell.

Florida has just one non-conference game left before beginning SEC play. The Gators host High Point at the O'Connell Center on January 2.

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