ORLANDO– The Florida began its 2014 NCAA tournament campaign looking to be the 117th No. 1 seed in a row to win over the 16 seed they face to open the tournament. It took a little longer to pull away than most would like and was a bit too close to comfort for a bit too long but in the end, the Gators emerged victorious beating the Albany Great Danes 67-55
Albany came out of the gate shooting the lights out at the Amway Center. With 3:26 remaining in the game the Great Danes were shooting 57.1% from the field, they cooled off a bit and finished the first half with 46% shooting.
At halftime the score was 32-28 in the favor of the Gators and in the second half the Great Danes refused to go away, keeping the game within single digits for most of the second half, but in the end the Gators were too much.
Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith led all Florida players with 16 points, center Patric Young had a game-high 10 rebounds and point guard Scottie Wilbekin led Florida with four assists.
Albany was led by guard DJ Evans who had 21 points –a game high as well– and seven rebounds. Forward Sam Rowley led the Great Danes in rebounds with four assists.
The Gators advance to face the Pittsburgh Panthers Saturday in the Amway Center, the Panthers are coming off of a 77-48 evisceration of Colorado in the opening game from Orlando.