Scottie Wilbekin

Florida pulls away from Minnesota late to advance to Sweet 16

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We’re still not sure how Florida will fare in a close game against a high-major opponent after the Gators’ 78-64 win over Minnesota, but coach Billy Donovan’s team almost manufactured a close game for themselves down the stretch.

After leading by as much as 18 points with 17:18 to play in the second half, Minnesota rallied to eight points with 8:46 left. That’s when Florida’s defense stepped up and Minnesota hit a drought. Gopher guard Andre Hollins picked up his fourth foul and could not score another field goal for almost six minutes.

That allowed Florida to stave off Minnesota and expand the lead before a three-pointer from guard Mike Rosario put a nail in the coffin with 3:18 to play and the lead at 17 points. Rosario finished with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

Florida moves on to play the winner of Florida Gulf Coast and San Diego State, a game that is currently underway. Florida Gulf Coast has looked like the most confident team in this entire NCAA tournament, a team that came in as a No. 15 seed that had lost to Lipscomb twice this season. They have been fittingly dubbed “Dunk City” for their uptempo, athletic style of play. If the Eagles advance, Florida will have to use that signature pressure defense to contain point guard Brett Comer and forward Sherwood Brown.

If San Diego State advances, Jamaal Franklin will be the focus for Florida. His ability to get out in transition and work around the rim makes him one of the most versatile players in the Mountain West.

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Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Ex-Duke guard, Marshall assistant Chris Duhon suspended after arrest

Chris Duhon
AP Photo/The Herald-Dispatch, Sholten Singer
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Marshall assistant coach Chris Duhon has been suspended by the university after he was arrested on a charge of aggravateddrunken driving early Monday morning.

Duhon, who is currently in his second season at Marshall, was booked into the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville, West Virginia, at 4:15 a.m. on Monday, according to the Herald-Dispatch.

The athletic department released a statement saying that Duhon had been suspended later on Monday.

Duhon was a member of Duke’s 2001 National Title team. He played for the Blue Devils from 2000-2004 and spent nine years in the NBA with the Bulls, Knicks, Magic and Lakers.

North Carolina’s Marcus Paige to play on Tuesday

Marcus Paige
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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No. 9 North Carolina will be at full strength when they host No. 2 Maryland on Tuesday.

“He’ll play,” head coach Roy Williams said on ESPNU’s college basketball podcast. “Unless something weird happens today in practice. He practiced Friday and Saturday.”

Paige was an Preseason All-American, but he broke a broke a bone in his right — non-shooting — hand prior to the start of the season. Prior to the 2014-15 season, Paige was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year, but he had a disappointing year as he spent the majority of last season battling a variety of injuries, from plantar fasciitis to sprained ankles.

He missed the first six games of this season with the hand injury, including UNC’s loss at Northern Iowa last week.