A man short

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 2:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 2:05 p.m.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - No. 5 Florida might be without its most versatile player Wednesday night at South Carolina.

Corey Brewer sprained his right ankle at Tennessee on Saturday, missed practice Monday and hobbled around campus on crutches. The 6-foot-8 forward is second on the team in scoring (13.6), rebounding (5.7) and assists (4.5).

"I'd say right now he's not going to play," coach Billy Donovan said. "I don't know how his treatment is going to go and how well he's going to respond. He was very, very sore (Sunday) morning. He came in several times for treatment. ... He's not capable of playing right now."

The Gators (17-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) are coming off their first loss of the season, 80-76 against the Volunteers, and dropped three spots in the latest Associated Press college basketball poll.

But Florida was much more concerned about their best defender and most athletic playmaker. Brewer landed awkwardly on his right foot after going up for a rebound with 9:34 remaining in the first half. He went to the locker room for treatment, returned several minutes later and played most of the second half.

However, Brewer had a crucial turnover that led to the winning layup with 20.4 seconds to play.

"Corey means everything to this team, but at the same time, we need him to be 100 percent and if that means sitting out a game, then that's what it takes," forward Joakim Noah said.

Without Brewer, the Gators would have only eight scholarship players available, meaning freshman guard David Huertas might have to step into a starting role at small forward. Huertas is averaging 3.4 points and 1.7 rebounds.

"There's no question that we have, without Corey, depth issues and we'll have to deal with that," Donovan said. "We don't have any excuses. We've got enough to get on the floor and dress. We're not going to playing five against four. We'll be 5-on-5 and we'll have to play with some level of intelligence and have different guys step up."

Florida has won nine in a row and 13 of the last 14 against the Gamecocks (10-8, 1-4).

"Everybody's going to hit their stretch of adversity," forward Adrian Moss said. "Ours has hit now, so we got to get through this and we're going to have to make our own way."

Gators upset with security at Tennessee

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley questioned Tennessee's commitment to security Monday, two days after fans stormed the basketball court to celebrate the Volunteers' home victory against the previously unbeaten Gators.

Foley said a member of Tennessee's operations staff warned the Gators before the game that if the Vols won, "the students were coming and there's nothing they could do about it."

"In my opinion, it should have been handled better," Foley said. "Before the game starts, if you have an idea that's going to happen and there's nothing you do about it, it makes you wonder how much planning went into it."

The Southeastern Conference could fine Tennessee $5,000 for the celebration _ the standard penalty for first-time offenders under league rules that prohibit spectators from going onto the court during or after a game. A second offense calls for a $25,000 fine; a third costs $50,000.

The policy, which only affects football and basketball games, went into effect Dec. 1, 2004. It came about two weeks after a brawl involving players and fans at the Indianapolis Pacers-Detroit Pistons game and a brawl among players in the Clemson-South Carolina football game.

"It's not a bunch of losers here making excuses," Foley said. "It has nothing to do with the outcome. They beat us fair and square. It's just a matter of running your business the way it should be run and the way this league wants it run."

Foley called SEC commissioner Mike Slive after the game to complain. Foley also said the punishment might need to be stiffer in hopes of forcing schools to do more to prevent similar situations, and said it likely will addressed at the league's annual meetings in May.

Foley and coach Billy Donovan said they were concerned about the safety of players, coaches and staff members.

Two years ago at Georgia, fans rushed the court following the Bulldogs' 76-62 victory over the Gators, and videotapes showed one of them taking a swing at oft-heckled Florida guard Matt Walsh.

"There is a point where somebody's going to do something and there's going to be a major problem," Donovan said. "I hope it doesn't happen."

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said Monday he shook hands with Donovan after the game and told him to get his team off the floor, fearing some of the 24,011 fans _ the sixth largest crowd ever at a men's game in Knoxville _ would stream onto the court.

"We've got to learn how to handle it with our crowd control and understand the responsibility that we have to the safety and well being of our guests," Pearl said. "If this fine draws attention to that fact, let's talk about. Let's congratulate the fans on an amazing atmosphere, but understand we can't have that happen for the safety of the opponents.

"Again, I'm not at all unhappy with our fans or upset with the students. I share their enthusiasm. But we did it this one time. Let's not do it again."

Florida players, meanwhile, said they were unfazed by the celebration.

"A lot of people do illegal stuff," forward Adrian Moss said. "I had no problem with those guys rushing the floor. It's an emotional game. They wanted to win. They had their little pep rally and they came out and got the job done, bottom line. We can't be mad if they rush the floor if they win. We should have taken care of business and not even given them a chance to do that."

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