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Rutgers stuns Gators

COACH MIKE RICE was waiting for his young players to grow up and embrace his system. They did it big-time last night.

COACH MIKE RICE was waiting for his young players to grow up and embrace his system. They did it big-time last night.

Freshman Eli Carter scored a career-high 31 points and hit the go-ahead basket in the second overtime as host Rutgers rallied to stun No. 10 Florida, 85-83.

The Scarlet Knights (8-5) came back from a seven-point deficit late in regulation and Carter hit a late three-pointer in the first overtime to put his team in position for its biggest win since knocking off No. 9 Villanova last season.

"This is what happens when you believe," Rice said. "This is what happens when you don't think the impossible is impossible. This is what happens when you follow the formula, when you play for one another. [We] had the will and the determination."

Erving Walker had a chance to tie the game for the Gators (11-2) in the final seconds, but his off-balance attempt from the foul line hit off the rim.

Scarlet Knights fans stormed the court to celebrate in a game billed as the return of former Rutgers star and current Gator Mike Rosario to Piscataway, N.J.

Dane Miller added 16 points, Myles Mack had 14 and Jerome Seagears 13 for Rutgers, which won its fourth straight game and snapped the Gators' five-game winning streak.

Kenny Boynton matched his season high with 26 points for Florida. Bradley Beal added 15 and Erik Murphy had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Carter, whose previous high was 21 points, put the Scarlet Knights ahead for good at 80-78 with a shot in the lane. He was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw.

After Beal missed a drive on the left side and Boynton missed a three-point attempt, Carter scored inside again for an 82-78 edge.

Beal cut the Gators' deficit to a point on a three-pointer with 1:18 to go, but Mack came right back with a three-pointer with 55 seconds left for an 85-81 lead.

A floater by Walker with 44.8 seconds left cut the margin to a basket and Florida got a final shot when Rutgers was called for a shot-clock violation with 8.7 seconds left.

Rutgers knocked the ball out of bounds in the backcourt with 4.3 seconds left and Walker could not connect after taking the inbound pass and driving to the foul line for his final shot.

Rutgers forced the first overtime by rallying from a seve-point deficit in the final 2:48 of regulation and the came from three points down in the first overtime with Carter tying the game at 76 with a three-pointer with 18.2 seconds to play.

Florida turned the ball over in the waning seconds and Mack's 40-footer at the buzzer wasn't close.

Mack started the comeback in regulation with a three-pointer, Carter scored in the lane and Miller tied the game with 45.7 seconds to go with a layup.

After Walker's drive down the lane with about 15 seconds left hit nothing, the Scarlet Knights blew a chance to win. Mack seemed to lose track of time and his off-balance shot never had a chance.

Rosario averaged 16.4 points in his first two seasons with the Scarlet Knights before transferring to Florida. He scored five points in 14 minutes in his return and he was booed every time he touched the ball or cheered every time he missed a shot.

In other Top 25 games:

* At Marquette, Jeffery Taylor scored 19 points and Vanderbilt (9-4) stunned the No. 14 Golden Eagles, 74-57. Marquette (11-2) was led by Jae Crowder's 16 points.

* At North Carolina, Tyler Zeller had 19 points and 13 rebounds to help the fifth-ranked Tar Heels (12-1) beat Elon, 100-62.

* At Kansas, Tyshawn Taylor and Connor Teahan scored 13 points each, and the No. 17 Jayhawks (9-3) routed Howard, 89-34.

* At Michigan, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 26 points to lead the No. 18 Wolverines (11-2) over Penn State, 71-53, in the Big Ten opener for both teams. Tim Frazier had 20 points and four assists for the Nittany Lions (8-6).

* At Boston College, Laurent Rivard scored 18 points to lead No. 24 Harvard (11-1) to a 67-46 win over the Eagles.