Quick Start Carries Gators to Quarterfinals

The Florida Gators used a fast start to jump to an early 12-point lead that they would maintain in a 74-60 win over the Miami Hurricanes in the second round of the NIT on Friday. Nick Calathes led the way for Florida, knocking down four from behind the arc to score a game-high 21 points.

Alex Tyus also had a big night, posting a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Dan Werner scored 12 and hit 2-of-4 from long range. The Gators will now host Penn. St. for the right to advance to New York City for the second straight season.

The Gators scored the first 12 points of the game after the Canes missed five straight three-point attempts. Miami also turned the ball over a couple of times, helping the Gators race off to the early lead. Walter Hodge and Werner both knocked down threes to get the Gators started, and Tyus and Chandler Parsons scored early buckets.

Florida continued to build their margin, knocking down two more from beyond the arc and led 20-2 with 11:42 left in the opening period. Florida hit their first four shots and made seven of their first 10 shots from the field.

Leading by 22 points, 31-9, Miami started to heat up. Jack McClinton scored five straight and the Canes narrowed the margin to 13 points, 34-21, with 4:36 left. A layup with just under a minute left in the half by McClinton cut the lead to 11, but the Gators were able to score five straight, including a three at the buzzer from Parsons to lead by 16 at the break, 48-32.

Florida continued to work with a comfortable margin in the second half. A three-pointer by Calathes with 17:04 left stretched the lead to 18, 53-35, which was Florida's biggest of the second half.

A jumper from James Dews trimmed the margin to 11 points midway through the second half, but Miami was never able to get any closer. Erving Walker knocked down a three with 3:34 left to give the Gators a 15-point lead. It would be Florida's last bucket of the game, but Miami wasn't able to do anything in the final minutes to make it close.

Florida clobbered the Canes on the boards, grabbing 37 rebounds to 25 for Miami. Despite some big three-point shots, Florida struggled from behind the arc, hitting just 7-of-25, but they held Miami to 10-of-27 from long range.

Parsons scored seven coming off his big game in the opening round and dished out five assists. The Gators had 20 assists on 26 made buckets. Hodge scored eight with three assists and Walker scored seven for Florida.

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