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April 2, 2007
ATLANTA (AP) - Some 3-pointers are worth more than others.
Florida specializes in those 3s, the ones that not only put three points on the scoreboard but steal momentum from an opponent.
The Gators hit 10 3-pointers Monday night in the 84-75 victory over Ohio State that sealed their place in college basketball history as the first repeat champion in 15 years.
Not all were the backbreakers from beyond the arc, but enough were.
The Buckeyes had two problems: They couldn't stop Florida from making 3s and they couldn't make any themselves. They kept missing and missing and missing.
Lee Humphrey, Corey Brewer and Taurean Green - Florida's trio of 3-makers - started hitting early against Ohio State and didn't stop, finishing 10-for-18. They combined for 43 points.
They had done this before in this NCAA tournament, starting with the regional final win over Oregon after many had questioned Florida's ability to put away opponents early in the first three rounds.
On Monday night, Brewer, the worst of the three as far as percentage goes at 33 percent, hit the first of the big ones.
Greg Oden, Ohio State's 7-foot freshman, pinned a shot by Brewer against the backboard and the crowd at the Georgia Dome reacted heartily for the first time. Ohio State's Jamar Butler missed a 3 at the other end and Brewer came right back down and hit a 3, giving a little skip as he passed the Buckeyes bench and extended the Gators' lead to 20-13 halfway through the first half.
Then it was all three of the Gators' shooters hitting big shots.
Ivan Harris hit Ohio State's second and last 3 of the first half with 5:37 to go to bring the Buckeyes within 24-22 and again bring the fans to life.
Humphrey, the most prolific 3-point shooter in NCAA tournament history, hit one 16 seconds later. Brewer nailed another with 4:28 left. Green capped the 9-0 run with 3:48 left and Florida had a 33-22 lead.
The Gators finished the half 6-for-9 on 3s, including a halfcourt heave by Brewer at the buzzer, while the Buckeyes were 2-for-12.
It was more of the same in the second half.
Oden had a big rebound dunk to make it 46-38 and then blocked a shot, but Humphrey hit 3 when Florida corralled the rebound.
Mike Conley Jr. got the Buckeyes within 53-46 with a nice reverse layup. Humphrey hit a 3 on the next possession.
Ohio State got within 66-60 with 5:03 left on a free throw by Oden. Green nailed a 3 12 seconds later and the Buckeyes got no closer.
Florida came into the game shooting 41 percent from 3-point range for the season. The Gators' opponents hit just 28 percent from beyond the arc.
On Monday night, the numbers were even better. Florida finished at 55.6 percent. The Buckeyes were 4-for-23 (17.4 percent).
Brewer, the defensive stopper, was 3-for-8. Green, the point guard, was 3-for-3. Humphrey, the shooter, was 4-for-7.
That's 10 3s among them. Somehow it seemed like a lot more than 30 points.