Hoops Wins Big Over Eastern Illinois

Freshmen guard Anthony Roberson and forward Matt Walsh each scored 20 points as the University of Florida men's basketball team defeated Eastern Illinois 99-65 in the second round of the preseason NIT Thursday night at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.

"I was very pleased with how our team played tonight and very happy with their unselfishness," head coach Billy Donovan said. "I think my concerns coming into the game were: one -- having an emotional start against Louisiana Tech on ESPN and two -- having a young basketball team where it was five of our eight guys first basketball game. I knew the adrenaline was running high."

Roberson made four three-point field goals and dished out seven assists. Walsh shot 8-for-11 from the field, also recording nine assists, six rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots. This was the first time since March 5, 1981 that two Florida freshman scored 20 or more points in the same game.

In the first half, Florida went on a 13-2 run, holding the Panthers to just 1-for-9 shooting during the first five minutes of the game. Roberson and sophomore center David Lee each scored in double figures during the first half scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively. Lee finished the game with the first double-double of his career with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Florida set the school record for blocked shots in a game with 14 tonight with five Gators recording at least two. Freshman forward Adrian Moss blocked shots, and was just one block away from the O'Connell Center record.

The Gators held Eastern Illinois' Henry Domercant scoreless until the 16:03 mark in the second half. Last season, Domercant was the nation's second leading scorer, averaging over 26 points per game.

"I can't talk enough about Justin [Hamilton] defensively on Domercant because of what he has done," Donovan said. "We try to keep a chart on the bench of the number of touches. Domercant had the ball in his hands 45 times and only got off nine shots. That gives you the idea of the type of perimeter player Justin Hamilton is."

Bouncing back from a four-point game two nights ago, senior forward Matt Bonner scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds.

Florida is set to host Coastal Carolina Sunday, Nov. 24 at 3:30 p.m. at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. The Gators will travel to Madison Square Garden to play Stanford in the semifinal game of the Preseason NIT Wednesday, Nov. 27. Game time will be either 7 or 9 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

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