Florida Falls to Michigan State

Florida Falls to Michigan State

The No. 7 University of Florida men's basketball team's season came to a close Sunday night with a 68-46 loss to Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.

The No. 2 seed Gators completed the season with an impressive 25-8 record. The 2002-03 season saw the Gators grab the school's first No. 1 ranking ever and saw Florida tie a school-record with 14 straight wins. The No. 7 seed Spartans improved to 19-12.

Two nights after scoring a career-high 23 points, sophomore David Lee responded by scoring a team-high 16 points. Senior Justin Hamilton, playing his final game in a Gator uniform, scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field.

Michigan State got off to a hot start as the Spartans shot 70-percent from the field in the first half. Florida had cut the lead to three at 18-15 midway through the first half, but the Spartans outscored the Gators 19-12 the rest of the way to take a 37-27 lead at halftime.

The Spartans defense stifled the Gators all night, as UF managed to score only seven points in the first 12 minutes of the second half. Hamilton scored five of the Gators' first seven second half points. Hamilton's three pointer to make the score 50-34 at the 9:22 mark ended a nine minute draught which saw Florida make only one field goal (a Hamilton layup).

Fellow seniors Matt Bonner and Brett Nelson concluded their brilliant careers as well. Bonner ended with six points and six rebounds, as UF made its fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

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