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    SEC Men's Hoops Friday Night Report

    South Carolina 75,  Western Carolina 50
    Alabama 64,  North Florida 44
    Georgia 62,  Wofford 49
    Auburn 84,  McNeese St. 62
    Tennessee 92,  UNC Greensboro 63
    Vanderbilt 78,  Oregon 64
    Kentucky 108,  Marist 58
    Ole Miss 60,  La-Monroe 38
    Arkansas 83,  SC Upstate 63
    Florida 99,  Jackson State 59

    Gamecocks Cruise Past Western Carolina in Season Opener, 75-50

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Freshman Anthony Gill and sophomore Brenton Williams scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, to lead the South Carolina men’s basketball team to a season-opening 75-50 victory over Western Carolina on Friday night at Colonial Life Arena.

    Gill was 6-of-7 from the floor, including 1-for-1 from 3-point range, while Williams was 5-for-8 on the night. Williams also led a solid defensive effort, collecting five of the Gamecocks’ 11 steals. Senior Malik Cooke added 10 points and seven rebounds, and junior Lakeem Jackson filled the stat sheet with five points, five assists, 10 rebounds and three steals.

    With the win, the Gamecocks (1-0) claim their 11th straight season opener, including a 4-0 mark under head coach Darrin Horn.

    South Carolina dominated nearly every statistical category as it shot 50.8 percent from the floor (30-of-59) and held the Catamounts to 36.2 percent shooting (17-of-47). The Gamecocks also held a decisive advantage in points in the paint (46-18), second chance points (20-9), bench points (38-16) and points off turnovers (22-15) and they controlled the boards with a 37-29 edge, including 18 offensive boards.

    The Gamecocks used their defensive pressure to break an 8-8 tie early on with an 8-0 run, including six straight points off turnovers. Williams made a transition layup off a steal by Brian Richardson to cap the run and give South Carolina a 16-8 lead at the 10:40 mark.

    Western Carolina (0-1) scrapped back with back-to-back 3-pointers and a dunk by Brandon Boggs to knot the game at 16-16, but South Carolina scored the next nine points to build a lead it would not relinquish. Williams gave the Gamecocks their biggest lead of the half at 33-22 by converting a layup off a steal by Jackson, one of five South Carolina had in the half. Williams, who paced the Gamecocks with 11 points in the half, sank a pair of free throws with less than a minute remaining to give South Carolina a 35-25 advantage heading into the locker room.

    The Gamecocks outscored Western Carolina 40-25 in the second half as they held the Catamounts to just 32 percent shooting. Gill drained a 3-pointer at the 17:00 mark to give South Carolina a 43-29 lead.

    After Boggs knocked down a jumper to trim the Gamecocks’ lead to 43-33 with 15:06 remaining, South Carolina outscored Western Carolina 26-10 over the next 10 minutes to pull away for the win.

    Sophomore Eric Smith chipped in a career-high nine points and four assists for the Gamecocks.

    Trey Sumler and Harouna Mutombo netted 11 points apiece to lead Western Carolina.

    Alabama Men’s Basketball Opens With 64-44 Victory Over North Florida

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 17/19 Alabama men’s basketball team opened regular-season play with a 64-44 win over the North Florida Ospreys Friday night in Coleman Coliseum.

    Senior forward JaMychal Green led all scorers with a game-high 18 points while junior forward Tony Mitchell notched the eighth double-double of his career with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Levi Randolph added eight rebounds to go along with five points for Alabama.

    The Crimson Tide led by as many as 28 points in the second half after holding a 29-16 halftime lead. Alabama limited North Florida to 13-of-56 (23.2%) shooting on the night, including just 3-of-21 (14.3%) from beyond the three-point arc. Friday’s game marked the 11th time in UA head coach Anthony Grant’s tenure the Crimson Tide has held an opponent under 50 points.

    “We’re excited, obviously, to get that first win under our belt,” Grant said. “North Florida came in with great energy and they fought really hard. At the beginning of the game we really had a tough time getting into the offensive flow. Thankfully our defense was able to make it difficult for them to score as well. In the second half and the end of the first half we finally found our rhythm and were able to get a little bit of a lead going into the half.”

    Holding a 29-16 halftime advantage, the Tide stretched the lead to 43-23 behind a 10-2 run at the 11:26 juncture of the half. Mitchell and Green combined for all 10 points of the run as UA held the Ospreys without a field goal for two separate four-minute stretches to start the second half.

    After UNF briefly cut the lead to 45-29 less than two minutes later, the Crimson Tide outscored the Ospreys 19-7 down the stretch to thwart any hope of a comeback.

    As a team, Alabama amassed seven blocks on the night, led by Green and freshman forward Nick Jacobs who both had a pair on the night. Freshman forward Rodney Cooper (seven points, five rebounds) and freshman guard Trevor Lacey (six points five rebounds) combined for 13 points and 10 rebounds in their first game in a Tide uniform.

    Mitchell punctuated an Alabama 13-1 scoring run in the first half that broke the game open with three consecutive baskets as part of 10 first half points. The Tide would build the lead to as much as 14 before settling on a 29-16 halftime advantage.


    Razorbacks Open Season With A Win

    FAYETTEVILLE – The Mike Anderson era of Arkansas basketball began with a resounding victory Friday night, as the Razorbacks defeated USC Upstate 83-63 to open up the 2011-12 season. Junior Marshawn Powell paced the Razorbacks with 19 points, and sophomore Rickey Scott had 11 points and seven rebounds.
    A crowd of 13,093 was on hand to welcome Anderson for his debut as head coach, and the new-look Razorbacks started the season as many hoped they would – with speed. Arkansas pressed and ran the floor aggressively, jumping out to a 21-5 lead and making nine of its first 10 shots.
    “You can’t ask for a better run to start the game,” Anderson said. “We came out with a lot of emotion.”
    Nine different Razorbacks scored in the first half alone, and seven of them shot 50% or better from the field. Arkansas swarmed on defense, causing nine first half turnovers and holding USC Upstate to 28.7% shooting including 1-for-10 from the three point line.
    Arkansas took a 40-21 lead, its biggest of the opening frame, with just over four minutes left in the first half off a pair of free throws from freshman Rashad Madden. The Spartans countered with a 7-1 run to end the period and make the score 41-28 at the half.
    USC Upstate put together a run early in the second half as well, cutting the Arkansas lead to 52-42 eight minutes into the second half. The Razorbacks came right back with a 5-0 spurt highlighted by a three pointer by senior Marvell Waithe to swell the lead back to 15 points at 57-42. The Spartans never came within ten from that point on.
    Coach Anderson commented that there was plenty for his team to work on, but it was nice to finally have the season underway.
    “There’s been a buildup, and we’ve finally got a game under our belts,” Anderson said. “I thought it was a good effort, but there are things to clean up.”
    Powell finished the game 6-for-8 from the field and 7-for-10 from the free throw line. He also grabbed five rebounds and added a block and a steal.
    Senior forward Michael Sanchez played tough underneath for the Razorbacks, collecting nine points, four rebounds and two blocks. Junior guard Julysses Nobles led Arkansas with 30 minutes played, and had nine points and four assists. He also netted the first five points of the game to lead Arkansas in its fast start.
    Arkansas’ highly touted freshman class showed promise in its first game of the season. Madden and Hunter Mickelson had eight and seven points respectively, and B.J. Young had five assists and added a high-flying one-handed dunk on a fast-break in the second half.
    The Razorbacks finished with a shooting percentage of 51.7% for the game, and held USC Upstate to 36.8%. Arkansas also won the rebounding battle, grabbing 41 boards to USC Upstate’s 32. Arkansas forced 19 turnovers on the night.

    Bulldogs Top Wofford in Season Opener

    ATHENS ----- Freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 15 points and Dustin Ware added 14 as Georgia pulled away from Wofford to post a 62-49 victory over Terriers in each team’s basketball season opener here Friday night.

    The Bulldogs overcame 34 percent shooting and a rebounding deficit for most of the game to prevail against the pesky visitors.  Wofford, which represented the Southern Conferenc in the past two NCAA Tournaments, chipped a double-digit deficit in the second half down to five in the waning minutes.

    “That was a good opening game for us,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox.  “We knew we’d be forced to play at both ends and be forced to play for 40 minutes.  We’re not finishing plays like I’m wanting to, but I didn’t expect us to be a thing of beaut with what we have offensively.  It’s a win and a good experience for our team.”

    The Bulldogs trailed Wofford – which defeated Georgia in its last trip to Athens in 2009 – for much of the first half.  A 9-0 run, however, enabled the Bulldogs to take control, if only briefly.  Caldwell-Pope’s steal and breakaway dunk triggered the Georgia outburst and put the Bulldogs ahead to stay at 15-13.

    It was the heralded freshman’s first basket of the game, coming with 8:07 left in the first half, after missing his first five shots.  Caldwell-Pope played with greater confidence thereafter and finished the first half with 13 points.

    “It was a big relief,” he said.  “I was nervous again, but I got that first basket and then it was good.  I just have to play my game, be patient and kind of let the game come to me.”

    Leading by nine at halftime, Georgia kept the Terriers at arm’s length for most of the final period.   Five times the Bulldogs pushed their lead into double digits, only to see Wofford respond with scores.  The Terriers pulled within five points, their closest margin since the opening minutes, on a pair of foul shots by Domas Rinksalis, bringing them within 47-42 at the 6:09 mark of the second half.

    Reserve forward Nemanja Djurisic then made perhaps the game’s biggest play that turned momentum back in Georgia’s favor.  He stole possession from Wofford’s Drew Crowell and led a 2-man fast break with Gerald Robinson that resulted in his own slam dunk.  Djurisic took another assist from Robinson on the Bulldogs’ next possession and cashed in a layup that pushed the Georgia margin back to 51-42.

    Georgia pulled away and boosted its final margin by making all six of its foul shots in the last minute of play.

    Auburn Defeats McNeese State 84-62

    AUBURN – Rob Chubb totaled a career-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and had seven rebounds to lead Auburn to an 84-62 win over McNeese State in the season opener for both teams at Auburn Arena on Friday. Varez Ward added 14 points, five assists and four rebounds, Kenny Gabriel 13 points and seven boards and Chris Denson 10 points.

    Auburn scored the first 11 points of the game and held McNeese State scoreless for five minutes and never trailed the rest of the way.

    “Chubb’s been working on it,” head coach Tony Barbee said. “We all saw glimpses last year, but he was almost like a freshman last year. Physically, he’s worked on his body, become strong, so now he is able to finish some of those shots even against a big body like the Turner kid. He was good tonight.”

    The 22-point win marks the largest margin of victory for Auburn (1-0) over a Division I opponent in two seasons. The Tigers shot 58.8 percent (33-of-62) from the floor to set a new high for the team in the 2-year-old Auburn Arena.

    Auburn’s full-court press led to four McNeese State turnovers in the first five minutes of the game as the Tigers opened up their lead. The Cowboys scored their first points with a put-back by Rudy Turner.

    “The defense definitely set up our offense,” said Ward, who celebrated his 23rd birthday. “They were missing a lot of shots, and they got us into our transition game.”

    The Tigers forced McNeese State into 17 turnovers and turned those into 22 points.

    McNeese State closed to within 31-25 with just over five minutes left in the half, but Auburn closed the half on a 15-6 run as Chubb’s lay-up with 39 seconds left pushed Auburn’s lead to 15. McNeese State kept itself in the game on the back of some solid shooting at the foul line. The Cowboys made all 1 of its free throw attempts in the first half and trailed Auburn 46-31 at the break.

    The Tigers opened the second half with an 8-0 run to widen their lead out to 23. After a jumper by Chubb, Auburn held a commanding 54-31 advantage with 17:51 to go. Kenny Gabriel and Chubb combined to score the Tigers’ first four baskets of the second half.

    “I always talk about the first five minutes of that second half being the most important five minutes of the game,” Barbee said.  “You either let them back into the game or you give them no hope, and we didn’t give them any hope.” 

    McNeese State (0-1) missed its first free throw with 10:37 left in the second half after making 15 straight while finishing the game 21-of-27. Denson’s free throw with 12:21 left in the game gave Auburn its largest lead of 29 points, 62-33.

    With three minutes to go and the Tigers leading 80-56, Barbee emptied the bench.

    The Tigers outrebounded the Cowboys 40-28 and outscored them 46-24 in the paint. Auburn limited McNeese State to 35.8 shooting from the field and only 3-of-18 (.167) from 3-point range. The Tigers shot 6-of-18 (.333) from behind the arc but were only 12-of-23 (.522) from the foul line.

    Patrick Richard, the Southland Conference’s leading scorer last season, was held to a team-high 13 points on only 3-of-13 shooting from the field.


    KNOXVILLE –The Cuonzo Martin Era got under way Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena, but it was Trae Golden who stole the show.

    Golden scored a career-high 29 points and dished out nine assists in leading Tennessee to a 92-63 victory over UNC Greensboro in the season opener for both teams and the debut of Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin.

    The explosive output by the Vols' sophomore point guard dwarfed his previous career-high of 8 points set last season against Memphis on Jan. 11.

    "Guys did great job on both ends of the floor, playing as unit," Martin said. "They showed lot of energy. They approached the game with game-like mind-set and shot the ball well in the first half from the 3-point line. We had some good looks.

    "Trae did a good job shooting and finding guys to distribute the ball. Nine assists and 29 points is impressive."

    Some of Golden's teammates, however, have seen those outbursts before from Golden in high school and AAU basketball.

    "The thing about Trae is that a lot of people are surprised to see what Trae can do," said fellow sophomore Jordan McRae, who grew up competing with and against Golden. "Trae playing like that doesn't surprise me at all. Trae is good. I've been seeing him play like that since he was 12, so I wouldn't expect anything less from Trae."

    Golden's biggest contribution was from long range. He was 5-of-9 from 3-point land and 10-of-14 overall. And he converted two three-point plays with aggressive drives that drew fouls.

    "I felt like they challenged me to shoot the 3," Golden said. "I only shot about 25 percent last season so I would challenge me, too. I having been working on my shot, and the improvement is really repetition."

    Tennessee (1-0) placed three others in double figures with Jeronne Maymon scoring 15 points from the post. McRae added 14 points, and Renaldo Woolridge scored 11 points with eight rebounds.

    The Vols shot 64.6 percent from the floor. They were 15-of-24 from long range, continuing the hot streak shown in the two preseason exhibition contests.

    The Spartans (0-1) were led by Korey Van Dussen's 12 points.

    The Vols raced out to a 12-2 lead thanks to five quick points from Golden and never looked back with their aggressiveness.

    Golden closed the first half scoring nine consecutive points behind three 3-pointers from nearly the same spot on the court to make it 43-28 with 2:36 to play until the break.

    Golden had 19 points in first half on 4-of-6 from 3-point range.

    "I thought Golden was great early and that really gave them confidence," UNC Greensboro head coach Mike Dement said. "They got going and got a lot of confidence."

    The second half was simply a continuation of the Golden show.

    He dished an assist to Maymon early, then followed with a steal that resulted in him going to the free throw line to get Tennessee going.

    After UNC Greensboro cut the margin to 15 points with 16:55 to play, Golden converted a three-point play to sway the momentum back toward the Vols. Skylar McBee followed with a 3, and Golden added one of his own to make it 66-42 with 15:02 remaining as the Vols cruised to the victory.

    "We're just trying to show them that we worked hard in the offseason and we're trying to represent Tennessee in the right way," Golden said. "We've progressed since the preseason. There are not as many jitters and guys are more aggressive, and that's a good thing for us."

    Vandy Beats Oregon, 78-64

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- John Jenkins scored 24 points, Jeffery Taylor added 21 and seventh-ranked Vanderbilt opened the season with a 78-64 victory over Oregon on Friday night.

    Brad Tinsley had 13 points for Vanderbilt.

    The Commodores hadn't been ranked in the preseason since November 1993 when they were No. 23, and they haven't been ranked this high since 1965 when they were fifth. That might be why they opened a bit slowly and even trailed by as much as six early.

    But the Commodores took control with an 18-0 run over the final 2:33 of the first half and the first few minutes of the second half.

    Oregon fell to 0-4 when opening against a ranked opponent. But the Ducks didn't go down easily as Tony Woods had a team-high 12 points. Brett Kingma and E.J. Singler had 10 each.

    Vanderbilt led by 20 with 13:36 to go, but Oregon came back with 14 straight points. The Ducks got as close as 62-57 on a jumper by Kingma with 5:09 left. Taylor answered by putting back his own miss with 4:41, then Jabari Brown had a turnover at midcourt. Johnathan Loyd missed both free throws, then Taylor hit a jumper to start a 12-0 run to seal the win.

    The Ducks finished with 20 turnovers, which Vandy turned into 24 points.

    This is the first time in his 13 seasons that coach Kevin Stallings has had all five starters back at Vanderbilt, but he'll be without center Festus Ezeli for up to eight weeks after the senior sprained his right knee late last month. Ezeli had been suspended for the first six games by the NCAA for accepting a meal and a hotel room from an alumnus during the summer.

    The Commodores struggled early despite the sellout crowd. The Ducks hit eight of their first 10 shots and led by as much as 18-12 on Kingma's 3-pointer with 12:18 left. Jenkins, the Southeastern Conference's leading scorer last season, missed his first four shots before hitting his fifth 3 with 6:59 left to put Vandy up 22-20. He wound up 7 of 16 from 3-point range.

    Oregon last led 29-26 when Garrett Sim hit the first of two free throw attempts with 3:17 remaining. The Ducks didn't score the rest of the half.

    Freshman Kedren Johnson scored on a layup with 2:33 left to start the 16-0 run. Taylor hit a pair of free throws to put Vandy back up 30-29. Jenkins added another 3, and Henderson hit two free throws for a 35-29 lead at halftime.

    Taylor picked up in the second half where Vandy left off with a bucket, and Jenkins hit a 3-pointer 57 seconds into the half for a 40-29 lead. Tinsley added a layup off the fast break as the Commodores forced Oregon into five turnovers within the first 3 minutes. Taylor's layup capped the 18-0 run with 18:02 remaining.

    By the time Jenkins hit another 3 with 14:15 to go, Vandy led 53-35, and Henderson tipped in a missed free throw by Dai-Jan Parker for the Commodores' biggest lead at 55-35 with 13:36 remaining.

    Davis Leads Kentucky

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Terrence Jones said he worked hard to show he was a leader on the court this season for Kentucky. He's the reason the second-ranked Wildcats will have less free time off it.

    Jones, a sophomore, came off the bench for eight points in Kentucky's 108-58 season-opening win over Marist on Friday night after the university said he was involved as a passenger in an early morning car accident.

    Coach John Calipari said earlier in the day that he would institute a curfew for the Wildcats.

    "I felt I was doing a great example on the court. I still believe that way," said Jones, who like the rest of his teammates will be forced to be back in their rooms at 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. "I take blame for being out that late, but I mean, it's just something that happened to cause all that."

    Anthony Davis had 23 points and 10 rebounds to join Jones and Sam Bowie as the only freshmen in Kentucky history with 20-10 games in their debuts.

    Davis attacked the rim in the opener, finishing 10 of 13 with eight dunks as Kentucky shrugged off a slow start with a dominant second half that turned a single-digit lead into a 50-point blowout in their first game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament.

    Fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 15 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals in his Rupp Arena debut.

    "If Michael wasn't out there and Anthony wasn't out there, we're down at half," Calipari said.

    Kentucky's next stop is New York City, where the Wildcats will face No. 13 Kansas in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday before heading to Uncasville, Conn., for two more games as part of this early season tournament.

    "I really think we'll be fine," Calipari said. "I just don't know if we're ready to play a team like Kansas."

    After Kentucky took a 45-36 lead in the first half, Doron Lamb found Jones under the basket for a slam as the Wildcats scored the first six points of the second half. Davis had consecutive slams as the Wildcats pulled away with a 21-2 run that made it 72-42 with 12 minutes left. Kentucky's biggest lead was the final margin.

    Jones had 25 points and 12 rebounds in his debut last season and Kentucky went on to the Final Four, losing in the national semifinals to Connecticut. Bowie established the first such performance in 1979.

    "For me to be in that category is just awesome," Davis said. "Terrence and Sam, they're great players and I'm just glad to be in that category with them."

    Jones returned for his sophomore season and the Wildcats have another impressive freshman class that includes Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer. Teague had 16 points, Lamb had 15 and Wiltjer added 14 for the Wildcats.

    Calipari said early Friday that Jones, the Southeastern Conference preseason player of the year, and teammate Stacey Poole had been involved in a car accident, but neither was seriously hurt.

    "He'll be fine. He made a mistake. I don't throw kids under the bus," Calipari said.

    The Wildcats won their first two exhibition games by a combined 124 points, but Marist kept it close thorough the first half. Isaiah Morton scored 13 points and Dorvell Carter finished with 12 for Marist.

    "I thought we had a good game plan, spread them out," Marist coach Chuck Martin said. "But they are the No. 2 team in the country."

    Martin, who was on Calipari's staff from Memphis from 2006-08, has gone 7-56 over his last two seasons. But Carter's 3-pointer gave the Red Foxes an 18-17 lead before Jones entered the game.

    Kentucky built a 32-23 lead, but Adam Kemp's floater cut Kentucky's lead to 38-34 before the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run capped when Jones hit a 3, then grabbed an offensive rebound on the next possession and dunked over Manny Thomas.

    Morton hit a jumper that made it 45-36 at the half, cutting Kentucky's lead single digits for the final time.

    "We played with them in the first half," Carter said. "The only thing we can learn is always come out and play hard the whole 40 minutes."

    Florida Wins Big

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Mike Rosario pumped his first as he walked off the court, acknowledging a group of students screaming his name.

    It was a great feeling. And a long time coming.

    Rosario, a former Rutgers standout who sat out last season under NCAA transfer rules, scored 19 points in his Florida debut and the Gators (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) handled Jackson State 99-59 on Friday night.

    "It's been a long, bumpy road for me, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world," Rosario said. "I wouldn't take back the whole year I sat out. I would trade it for nothing because I'm around a great group of guys and I feel like we have a great, great goal to accomplish this year."

    Rosario finished 7 of 12 from the floor and 5 of 8 from 3-point range. Fellow guard Kenny Boynton also scored 19, one of six Florida players in double figures.

    Highly touted freshman Bradley Beal added 14 in an off shooting night. Sophomore Patric Young had the first double-double of his career, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Erving Walker chipped in 10 points.

    Jenirro Bush led Jackson State with 20 points. He was 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

    The Gators extended their winning streak in openers to 21, and this was the widest margin of victory in the two decades.

    Florida built a 30-point lead midway through the first half and started the second half with a 15-0 run that turned a lopsided game into a laugher. The rout surely gave the Gators extra confidence heading into Tuesday night's game at No. 3 Ohio State.

    "It's one of those games where things you've got to get better are going to get exposed," coach Billy Donovan said. "We're going to have to address something coming out of that game. Something's going to get exposed that we're going to have to look at and you guys will ask me, 'Is that going to be a problem for the whole entire year?'

    "Really good teams expose things that you have to get better at."

    The Gators had little go wrong in the opener.

    Much of Florida's success came off turnovers and from behind the 3-point line. The Gators scored 37 points off 24 turnovers and made 13 of 30 shots from behind the arc.

    Rosario led the way from long range.

    "He can really shoot," Donovan said. "Mike shot the ball very, very well from behind the line. ... When the floor's spaced like it is, there's so much shooting out there. Mike just happened to be on the receiving end of knocking down a lot of shots."

    Florida made seven of its first nine shots. Boynton, expected to get more open looks this season with the addition of Rosario and Beal, hit two 3s. Walker scored on a driving layup and Beal sank a running floater.

    Young was active, too. He had tip-ins, layups, dunks and even a short jumper in the first half. He finished 6 of 8 from the field and added three assists. He will have a much tougher matchup against Ohio State center Jared Sullinger.

    "We've got to keep the intensity up," Young said.

    Rosario and Beal should help.

    Rosario averaged 16.7 points a game for Rutgers in the 2009-10 season. He transferred to Florida and had to sit out last season.

    "I've been through the best of the best in the Big East," Rosario said. "For us to have our second game of the season against Ohio State, and me coming back this year to play, it means a lot because now you get to really, really compete against the best of the best and I'm looking forward to it."

    Beal was one of the nation's most coveted recruits. He chose Florida, giving Donovan his most polished freshman in 16 seasons. Yes, more mature than Mike Miller, Al Horford or Nick Calathes.

    Beal was 1 of 6 from 3-point range Friday, but he did enough everywhere else to offset his shooting woes. He delivered a perfect bounce pass on the break and blocked a shot on the other end. His putback just before the buzzer put the Gators up 59-23.

    "He never gets rattled," Donovan said. "He had 10 points in the first half and you didn't even recognize it. ... He just plays the game. He's got great pace. The thing makes him such a good player is he's not a high-volume shooter. He scores very, very quietly and he's very efficient when he scores."

    Jackson State, picked to finish third in the Southwest Athletic Conference, cut into the lead in the second half -- partly because Bush stayed hot from 3-point range and partly because the Gators went deep into their bench.

    Nonetheless, coach Tevester Anderson heaped praise on Florida.

    "I have a vote in the Top 25 Coaches Poll, and I'm going to vote them higher than what they are right now," Anderson said. "They are a much better basketball team than we voted them in the initial vote. ... They are a solid team in every facet."

    Ole Miss Wins At Home

    OXFORD, Miss. -- Terrance Henry scored 15 points as Mississippi won its eighth consecutive season opener with a 60-38 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Friday night.

    Nick Williams added 13 points and Dundrecous Nelson had 12, as the Rebels limited their opponent to its lowest scoring output since a 71-38 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff in December, 2002.

    Fred Brown led Louisiana-Monroe with seven points, but managed only 2-of-12 from the field. The Warhawks finished 14-of-49 (29 percent) from the field and had only four field goals in the first half.

    Louisiana-Monroe led only once, 3-0, on a three-point shot by Brown in the opening minute. Ole Miss answered with a 16-2 run in the next four minutes, capped by a layup from Nelson, which built what turned out to be an insurmountable lead.

    Ole Miss led 33-11 at halftime, led by Williams with 10 points. Louisiana-Monroe never got closer than 16 points, 49-33 with 5:14 left. R.J. McCray, in a reserve role, finished with six points, four rebounds and a steal for the Warhawks.

    Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner helped dominate the boards for the Rebels, who finished with a 48-34 rebound edge. Holloway grabbed 17 rebounds and Buckner added 10. The duo also added two blocked shots apiece.

    The contest marked the return of Holloway to the Ole Miss lineup, after being ruled eligible last week by the NCAA. Holloway started two seasons for the Rebels before transferring to South Carolina, where he spent last season as a redshirt. Holloway returned to Ole Miss after last season.

    Ole Miss forced 18 turnovers, compensating for a 19-of-57 (33 percent) shooting performance. The Rebels struggled from three-point range, hitting 5-of-26 (19 percent).