Florida 84, Ohio State 75
ATLANTA (AP) - A long, tough season ended with a Gator chomp
Mission accomplished for Florida.
The Gators were too much to handle once again Monday night,
keeping their stranglehold on the college basketball world with an
84-75 victory over Ohio State for their second straight national
Al Horford had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Taurean Green had 16
and Greg Oden's 25 points and 12 rebounds weren't enough to stop
the Gators (35-5) from completing the quest they set upon when all
the starters delayed their NBA plans for a try at another title.
They celebrated with the usual Gator chomps and took a chomp out
of NCAA history, too - becoming the first team to repeat since Duke
in 1991-92 and adding their name to the debate about the best teams
of all time.
Best athletic programs of all time, too.
This win completes a 2007 championship-game sweep of the
Buckeyes (35-4) in college's two biggest sports - men's hoops and
football. Florida, a 41-14 winner in the football title game in
January, remains the only program in history to hold both
championships at the same time.
The celebration looked much the same as last year. Lots of
jersey tugging, jumping onto press row and Joakim Noah running into
the stands to hug it out with loved ones.
Billy Donovan added another gold star to his resume, and figures
to be making more than his current $1.7 million next season,
whether he returns to Florida or bolts for a possible job offer at
Even with the same starting five as last year, this was more
than just rolling the ball out there.
All season - including in the 86-60 victory over Ohio State in
December - the Gators have morphed into whatever kind of team they
needed to be to win.
In this one, stopping Oden figured to be the key, but really it
was more complex than that. The 7-foot freshman, who may be
one-year-and-done with the NBA looming, stayed out of foul trouble
and played most of the game - just what the Buckeyes figured they
needed to have a chance.
Florida's focus, however, was more on stopping the rest of the
team. Oden drew mostly single coverage when the ball went into the
post. Donovan played a lot of zone and mixed his big men in and
out, adding 6-10 Marreese Speights to the mix to give him five more
fouls to play with.
That strategy worked well enough - well enough to win at least.
Ohio State couldn't take advantage of any other matchups,
especially on the perimeter. Ivan Harris was the only Buckeye to
make a 3-pointer over the first 39-plus minutes of the game, and he