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FINALS: Xavier 90, Florida 83



WHAT HAPPENED: guards Colby Jones and souley boom combined for 44 points, and the Musketeers used a mid-second-half riot to take control of the game and finish off the Gators in Thursday’s opening round game of the Phil Knight Legacy at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. Xavier led by four to start the second half but the Gators hit six of their first seven shots to put themselves in front. The Musketeers, however, went on a streak of eight straight points, including consecutive 3s (first by Jones, second by Reserve Guard). DesmondClaude), who bracketed a steal and a run-out, missed the UF sophomore forward’s dunk Alex Fudge, a huge swing swing. The Gators fell down to 11 just over eight minutes from time but managed to match the Musketeers’ lead with one possession three times, the last time playing by 2:43. UF played excellent defense on subsequent possession, forcing a missed 3, but XU grabbed the offensive rebound and cover Adam Kunkle made the Gators pay with a propelling second-chance layup that initiated a six-straight sprint for the Musketeers, who closed from there. Jones and Boum each scored 22 points while collectively making 15 of 26 shots, five of 3-point attempts, and nine of 10 free throws. All five Musketeer starters scored in double digits at 7-foot Jack Nunge Posting 16 points and nine boards while also burying a few 3s. XU scored a whopping 55.9 percent for the game, 53 of them in the second half, going 10-20 from the 3-point line for the game (50 percent). UF, which was led by the junior guard with 23 points Trey Bonham, the Virginia Military Institute transfer making his first start, shot 44.3 percent overall and went 9-for-27 from deep (33.3 percent). Sophomore guard Will Richard, the Belmont transfer, had his Florida high-scoring game with 18 points remaining and seven rebounds. Fifth year striker Colin Castletonwho averaged 25.3 points per game, had 11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

UF Freshman Guard Riley ball during Thursday’s action.

WHAT IT MEANS: UF had a shot at one of those all-important Quadrant 1 wins as far as NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) ranks are concerned. Actually, the Gators had a shot at two of them since a first-round win would have bought a Q-1 chance in the second round, but now it’s all about getting wins and finishing as strong as possible in this tournament field.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Bonham triggered and replaced the Gators in their comeback last Friday night at Florida State Kowacie Reeves in the starting lineup. He didn’t disappoint. The 6-footer made nine of his 19 shots, two of seven 3-point attempts, grabbed three rebounds and dished out two assists over 29 minutes.

AMAZING STATISTICS: Need to do a review of the Gators’ “at-the-rim” misses. I’m not sure how many they had, but they were too many against an opponent who hit 56 percent.

NEXT: Florida (3-2) fell on the losing side of the Legacy bracket and meets Oregon State (4-2) at 3 p.m. ET Friday. The Beavers were beaten 54-51 by eighth-place Duke in Thursday’s tournament opener.

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