by Tom Morgan

Jon Horford made a pair of free throws with 2:34 left to put 18th ranked Florida up for good and the Gators closed the game on an 11-0 run to beat upset-minded UAB 56-47 in the consolation round at the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday night.

Kasey Hill's layup with 1:26 left - just the second 2-point basket after halftime for Florida - put the Gators up 51-47 and they held on from there, despite shooting 34 percent from the field and missing 10 of their first 11 shots in the second half.

Michael Frazier scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds and freshman point guard Chris Chiozza added 13 points and six steals for the Gators, who bounced back from an overtime loss to Georgetown the night before.

Tosin Mehinti and Robert Brown each scored 12 points for UAB, which led by as many as seven early and was up 47-45 with 3:59 remaining.

Florida took advantage of 16 UAB turnovers, turning them into 24 points.

The Gators, now 3-2, will play fifth ranked North Carolina tonight in the consolation final of the tournament. UNC blasted No. 22 UCLA 78-56 behind Marcus Paige's 21 points.

In other state sports news...

  • Kansas won its first-round game at the Orlando Classic at Disney's Wide World of Sports as Perry Ellis scored 17 points to lead the 11th-ranked Jayhawks past Rhode Island 76-60. In the other first round games in the tournament, Denzel Valentine had a career-high 19 points to carry No. 20 Michigan State to a 77-45 laugher against Rider, Matt Carlino had a career-high 38 points to lead Marquette past Georgia Tech 72-70 and it was Tennessee over Santa Clara 64-47.
  • Fred Miller scored 15 points as South Carolina-Upstate defeated Florida International 68-53 in the opener of the Spartanburg Marriott Upstate Classic on Thursday.
  • In college football, UCF takes on rival USF this afternoon. The Knights beat the Bulls 23-20 in last year's contest. It was the first win of the series for UCF, which had lost the four previous games played between the two I-4 neighbors. UCF, 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the AAC, needs a win today and next week against East Carolina to guarantee at least at tie for the conference championship. USF is 4-7 overall and 3-4 in the AAC in Willie Taggart's second year as head coach. Today's game at Raymond James Stadium kicks off at 12 noon.