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December 11, 2004

Louisville beats Florida and Rowdy Reptiles, 74-70

GAINESVILLE, Florida -- Billy Donovan still can't beat his former mentor and coach. He never even had a lead this time.

Taquan Dean scored 22 points and Francisco Garcia added 19 and five steals as 14th-ranked Louisville led from wire to wire in a 74-70 victory over Florida.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino improved to 6-0 against Donovan, who played for Pitino at Providence and with the New York Knicks and served as an assistant under Pitino at Kentucky from 1989-94.

Pitino's teams are known for their 3-point shooting and pressing defense and the Cardinals used that formula to beat Donovan again. Louisville (5-1) converted 7-of-16 from 3-point range in the first half alone while the Gators made just 4-of-22 from behind the arc for the game.

Meanwhile, Garcia was the best defensive player on the floor, disrupting Florida (5-2) with his pass deflections and five steals.

The Cardinals hit 5-of-6 shots and raced to an 11-2 lead in the first 2:47. Florida pulled within one point on three occasions, but could never take the lead.

Louisville held a 67-66 advantage with under three minutes left and didn't need a field goal the rest of the way. Ellis Myles hit 2-of-4 free throws, Dean converted 1-of-2 from the line and Brandon Jenkins made 1-of-2 free throws to increase the lead to 71-66 with 1:01 left.

After a pair of free throws by Anthony Roberson, Florida had a chance to tie the game but David Lee missed a 3-point attempt with 18 seconds remaining.

Juan Palacios hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left to seal the win.

Lee led the Gators with 18 points and Roberson finished with 15.


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