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Gators are still aching

Published Sep. 9, 2005

Florida celebrated its first-round win over Western Kentucky in high style.

Ice bags all around.

Two for Teddy Dupay's back. One each for LaDarius Halton's knees. One for Matt Bonner's hip _ the newly-bruised right one, not the previously injured left one.

Down to an eight-player rotation, Florida must shake off the remnants of serious old injuries and new nagging ones in time for Sunday's second-round game against Temple.

"We're banged up," coach Billy Donovan said. "We need to find a way to come back fresh and ready to go."

Florida showed obvious signs of fatigue in a 74-69 loss to Mississippi in the SEC tournament semifinals, playing less than 24 hours after its win against Alabama.

Dupay is feeling the longterm effects of his Jan. 10 back surgery. Bonner took a "flying knee" to his hip flexor early against Western Kentucky, an injury to match the hip pointer on his left side.

"It really hurt, especially right after it happened," Bonner said. "But it was okay after I stretched it out some and the endorphines kicked in."

MILESTONES: Senior Major Parker and juniors Dupay and Udonis Haslem played in their 10th NCAA Tournament games, the most by any UF player. The Gators reached the Sweet 16 in 1999 and the championship game last season.

SLOW STARTS: Florida's 26 first-half points marked the lowest output in an NCAA Tournament game under Donovan. The previous low was 29 against Butler in the first round last season.

Western Kentucky was the second team this season to limit the Gators to two double-digit scorers (Haslem 24, Brett Nelson 19). The other was Auburn in a 65-63 UF victory Jan. 24.

SLOW FINISH: Western Kentucky scored just five field goals in the final 15:55 as UF outscored the Hilltoppers 38-16.

QUOTABLE: "We knew they were going to come out with an unbelievable amount of emotion. But our conditioning perseveres. It's not even just physical, it's emotional. We know what the conditions are like here, they didn't." _ Dupay.