Billy Donovan

Florida down to five scholarship players after Damontre Harris, Dorian Finney-Smith suspended


Florida basketball took yet another hit on Thursday morning as head coach Billy Donovan announced that Damontre Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith have joined Scottie Wilbekin on the suspended indefinitely list.

Harris and Finney-Smith will not play in Florida’s exhibition game and they will both miss at least one regular season game.

That’s problematic for the Gators, as we’ve now reached a point in time where it is easier to list who is healthy and available than it is to list who is not.

Patric Young,¬†Kasey Hill, DeVon Walker, Casey Prather and Dillon Graham. Those are Florida’s lone scholarship players that are not suspended and 100% healthy with the start of the season just eight days away. In addition to the three players that are suspended, Chris Walker is not yet enrolled in school, Michael Frazier has mono, Eli Carter is recovering from a broken leg and Will Yeguete is recovering from offseason knee surgery.

That’s not exactly ideal.

(UPDATE: It looks like they’ll be getting two games apiece.)

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)