College Basketball: Florida 68, N.C. State 66
Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 3, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. ó Nick Calathes scored 24 of his 32 points in the second half, including his team’s final 12 points to help Florida overcome a 10-point halftime deficit to beat North Carolina State 68-66 on Saturday.
“I really thought we won on our style of play,” Gators coach Billy Donovan said. “We kept it somewhat chaotic in the second half.”
Florida (12-2), which won its sixth straight game, forced 12 second-half turnovers from the Wolfpack (9-3).
Calathes hit a 25-foot 3-pointer with 3:59 to play to give Florida a 59-58 lead, but the Gators were forced to hold on as the lead changed nine times before the game ended.
“With his aggressiveness, Nick made some good decisions,” Donovan said. “Sometimes with his aggressiveness some of his decisions haven’t been so good.”
Erving Walker, a 5-foot-8 freshman, was credited with two steals but kept his team and the crowd in the game with his defensive effort throughout as Florida fought its way back.
“He did a great job at slapping at the ball,” Donovan said. “The last three or four games he hasn’t played great. He tried to make too many plays and he seemed wrapped up if the ball was going in the basket for himself.”
Calathes, a sophomore, did his part after a dismal first half in which the Gators were 0-for-6 on 3-pointers and North Carolina State shot nearly 54 percent from the floor.
“The first was the worst half we could have played,” Calathes said. “At halftime, coach told us it was the worst half we could play and only be down by 10.”
Much of that was because of the play of North Carolina State’s Brandon Costner, who had nine of his 24 points in the first half. Costner downplayed his effort.
“It doesn’t really mean much, we didn’t get the job done,” he said. “We came here to get a win and once again we gave another one away.”
All of the Wolfpack losses this season have been in the waning minutes.
“It’s very difficult,” North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe said. “It’s difficult and frustrating, especially when you feel youre controlling the game. It’s frustrating.”
Dan Werner had 10 points for the Gators, while Ben McCauley had 11 and Farnold Degand 10 for North Carolina State.