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Updated: Friday, November 22, 2002 1:02 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(7) Florida 99, Eastern Ill 65
EASTERN ILLINOIS PANTHERS
Eastern Illinois Panthers
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FLORIDA GATORS
Florida Gators
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GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Anthony Roberson and freshman Matt Walsh scored 20 points apiece and David Lee added 19 as seventh-ranked Florida routed Eastern Illinois, 99-65, in the quarterfinals of the Preseason NIT.

Matt Bonner, playing his 100th game and making his 50th start, chipped in 15 points for Florida, which improved to 6-0 all-time in this tournament.

Rashid Al-Kaleem had 11 points as all five starters reached double figures for the Gators, who have won 31 consecutive non-conference home games. Florida also set a school record with 14 blocked shots.

"I was very, very pleased with how our team played tonight," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I was very happy with their unselfishness."

Jesse Mackinson had 21 points for Eastern Illinois (1-1), which was making its first appearance in the Preseason NIT.

Henry Domercant, who had 36 points in the Panthers' season-opening win over Boise State, was held to seven on 2-of-9 shooting.

"Coming into a game against a team of this caliber, I consider myself an All-American candidate, and my team really needed me to play like an All-American tonight," Domercant said. "I didn't get the job done. I let my team down in a lot of ways."

Florida (2-0) will face Stanford on Wednesday in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York.

This was the first meeting between the schools.

Florida broke the contest open early, scoring 13 of the first 15 points. Eastern Illinois made just 1-of-9 shots during that spurt, had four shots blocked and committed four turnovers.

Roberson scored 13 points and Lee added 10 in the first half, helping the Gators build a 47-31 lead at the intermission. Lee finished with 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.

Eastern Illinois held its own for the first seven minutes of the second half but went cold over the final eight minutes, allowing Florida to further pull away.

"They were particularly tough for us to defend," Eastern Illinois coach Rick Samuels said.

Walsh made 8-of-11 shots and had nine assists in 31 minutes. Roberson made 8-of-17 shots from the field, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range. He also had seven assists.

"I thought I played pretty well, but I still have room for improvement," Roberson said. "I am looking forward to the next game and each step and trying to improve."

"I have a lot of guys to pass to," Walsh said. "You drive and somebody comes up and you are passing to people like David Lee and Matt Bonner and Justin Hamilton and Anthony Roberson. They make it easy to pass the ball."

Eastern Illinois made just 22-of-66 shots and committed 17 turnovers.

The Gators are 22-3 in November under Donovan.


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