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Florida sneaks up on GW for 75-66 win Colonials to face Terps in tournament consolation

LANDOVER — LANDOVER -- Some college basketball teams have been accused of believing their own press clippings too much. But the George Washington team that came into USAir Arena yesterday must have been reading the University of Florida's clippings.

How this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Gators, two seasons and several players removed from their Final Four appearance in 1994. How Florida was coming off a 15-point loss earlier this week at South Florida.

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"Human nature tells us that can happen," said Florida coach Lon Kruger. "If GW watched the way we played the last game, they might have thought it wasn't going to be much of a challenge."

Though GW coach Mike Jarvis and his players said that wasn't the case, how else do you explain the way the Colonials sleepwalked during the first 35 minutes of a 75-66 loss? The Gators built a 12-point halftime lead, led by as many as 16 and then pulled away when GW cut its deficit to three.

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The defeat for GW (2-1) prevented an all-Atlantic 10 final for the first Franklin National Bank Classic. Though Jarvis didn't savor the idea of playing Massachusetts in a nonconference game in December, he didn't mind the idea of playing Maryland.

Asked what he thought about Maryland, Jarvis joked, "I'm going to call the governor and ask him to lower my taxes."

Asked later if his team might have overlooked Florida, Jarvis said, "Were they better than we thought? No, they were as good as we thought. They're a good team. When you rebuild with two kids who played on a Final Four team, that's a pretty good start."

One of those players is 6-7 senior center Dametri Hill. Not quite a wide-body as he used to be, Hill still hurt the Colonials inside with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

But it was long-range shooting (9-for-18 on three-point attempts) that helped Florida build its lead. Conversely, GW was 3-for-14, including 3-for-11 by Kwame Evans.

After dominating his team's easy victories in its Red Auerbach Classic, Evans disappeared for stretches yesterday. The 6-7 senior from Baltimore had a chance to tie the game at 66 on a wide-open three-pointer with a little under four minutes remaining.

"If I had hit that shot, it would have been a whole different ballgame," said Evans, who wound up with 18 points, eight below his early season average. "I think it would have given us a lot of momentum."

Greg Williams, a junior guard from Fairfax, Va., led Florida (2-1) with 20 points, and he made four of eight three-point attempts.

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"It was very big," Williams said of his team's three-point shooting. "Dametri draws a lot of double teams, but by hitting our outside shot, it made it easier for him."

Despite getting into foul trouble, Hill was a little too mobile for Alexander Koul, GW's 7-foot-1, 280-pound center. Hill, who is down to 270 after losing some 70 pounds in an off-season conditioning program, made everything from hook shots to three-pointers.

After a three-point play by Evans trimmed Florida's lead to 61-56, successive three-point shots by the Gators put their lead back to double digits. A three-point shot by Evans and a rebound follow by GW guard Vaughn Jones cut it to three. That's when Evans missed the wide-open three-pointer.

"Too little, too late," said Jarvis. "We started playing a lot tougher and with a lot more emotion. If we had done that earlier, the outcome might have been different."


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