No. 4 Wildcats Lose Heartbreaker To No. 8 Florida

Nov 28, 2003

AP Basketball Writer

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Bonell Colas made the most of some limited playing time.

Florida's senior center played only one minute in the first half after picking up two very quick fouls, and he played just 10 more in the second as he was called for two more.

That was all forgotten after his layup on an inbounds pass with 7.3 seconds left - his only points of the game - gave No. 8 Florida a 78-77 victory over No. 4 Arizona in the Tipoff Classic on Friday night.

The 6-foot-9 Colas missed his only other shot of the game, but he made the layup on the inbounds pass from Christian Drejer that gave the Gators (2-0) the win.

'That's something we do in practice every day, special situations,' Colas said. 'It was just paying attention to what the coach told me that if I was open go to the basket and I did. Christian made a great pass and I just laid it up.'

The Wildcats (1-1) had two late chances at the win, but Salim Stoudamire's jumper from the foul line missed and Andre Iguodala's tip-in at the buzzer was off.

Matt Walsh had 27 points for the Gators, whose last lead before the final score was 49-47 with 15 minutes to play.

'It's a great win to build on, to see where we can get better offensively and defensively,' Florida coach Billy Donovan said. 'We were very fortunate to win the game. Matt Walsh carried us offensively.'

Chris Rodgers had 17 points for the Wildcats, who took a 75-73 lead on a jumper by Hassan Adams with 3:45 to play. Stoudamire hit a jumper with 2:37 left that gave Arizona a 77-73 lead, but that was its final points of the game.

Anthony Roberson, who missed Florida's opener as he completed a three-game suspension from the school, made one of two free throws with 2:31 left and then scored on a long layup after a turnover with 2:01 left that made it 77-76.

Arizona failed to convert on its last four possessions, while Florida was able to score only one of its last four but that was the game-winner by Colas.

'I'm the basket protector on that play and he was wide open but still made a good shot,' Arizona center Channing Frye said of Colas.

Walsh was 5-for-8 from 3-point range in the second half after not taking one long jumper in the first half. Florida finished 8-for-20 from beyond the arc after going 1-for-5 in the opening half.

'The guys started getting me open with screens and I was getting good looks right at the 3-point line,' said Walsh, who was vocal with his teammates throughout the game. 'I knew we could we play with this team and with all the new guys I had I wanted to make sure they weren't intimidated and I was just trying to be positive and get them going.'

Roberson had 15 points and David Lee, who was limited to 26 minutes because of leg cramps, had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Frye had 15 points, five blocks and 13 rebounds for the Wildcats, who finished with a 54-43 advantage on the boards. Iguodala had six points, eight assists and 10 rebounds.

Rodgers was 3-for-5 on 3s, while Arizona went 5-for-21, including 1-for-9 in the first half.

'We need to shoot the ball better,' Arizona coach Lute Olson said. 'Our wings had a tough night shooting-wise and Florida had something to do with that.

'I've often said I would rather lose a game like this than beat some team by 40. We can take a lot out of this game. We have a lot to learn.'

The game, sponsored by the Basketball Hall of Fame and MassMutual, drew a sellout crowd of 6,800 to the Springfield Civic Center.

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