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Days scores 20 near home, No. 12 LSU beats Florida 64-58

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Darius Days was mostly miserable during his last two trips home to play in front of friends and family members. He struggled, and LSU lost.

He tried to relax a little more this time around and ended up giving dozens of his fans who made the short trip north plenty of reason to cheer.

Days scored 20 points about 25 miles up the road from his hometown, Eric Gaines added 15 in his second start of the season and No. 12 LSU edged Florida 64-58 on Wednesday night.

“I told him in the locker room, ‘You must have been saving it all up for this one,’” LSU coach Will Wade said. “This has been a tough place for him to play.”

Days made nine of 14 shots — hitting six more than he did during his last two games in Gainesville — and was a one-man show for stretches. It was a much-needed performance because the Tigers (15-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) played without starting point guard Xavier Pinson (sprained knee) and had two big men foul out long before the game was decided.

“Everybody played their behind off,” Days said.

Gaines came up big, too, scoring eight points in the second half and going 4 of 5 on free throws down the stretch in place of Pinson.

“Give our guys credit, man,” Wade said. “We’re a tough out. We’ve got guys that step up and come through for us. … We just dug it out there. We didn’t have our normal lineups in there; we had lineups in there we’ve never practiced with. Our guys just found a way.”

The Gators (9-6, 0-3) lost for the sixth time in nine games and fell to 0-3 in league play for the first time since the 1980-81 season.

“We have to get this thing going,” Florida coach Mike White said. “We’ve proven to be capable. This team hasn’t handled adversity very well. We’ve got to get some type of mojo back.”

LSU dominated Florida down low, outscoring the Gators 42-26 in the paint. And the Tigers did that without much help from big men Tari Eason and Efton Reid.

Eason picked up his fifth foul on a charge with a little more than 14 minutes to play, and Reid joined him on the bench with 7:16 remaining. Reid picked up three fouls in the first half and was called for a fourth in the opening minute of the second.

Florida’s biggest issue was at the free throw line. The Gators missed 11 from the charity strip, including seven of nine down the stretch.

“There’s not 10 minutes that go by in practice without us stopping and do a free throw drill,” White said. “We’ll continue to do it. We might change up the drill.”

Colin Castleton led Florida with 19 points and nine rebounds, and Phlandrous Fleming added 11 points.

LSU led by 14 in the first half, but Florida whittled it to two several times in the final minutes. Anthony Duruji, Myreon Jones and Brandon McKissic each missed a pair of free throws in crunch time.

“The thing is, you’re talking about good shooters here,” White said. “It’s obviously mental. … We’ve got to get mentally tougher.”

BIG PICTURE

LSU: The Tigers entered with the nation’s fifth-best scoring defense, giving up 56.4 points a game, and that figure won’t change much after another stout defensive performance that included five blocks and eight steals.

Florida: The Gators opened league play with a daunting schedule that included three ranked teams: Alabama, Auburn and LSU. They were close at times in all three but were doomed by lengthy scoring droughts.

COACH’S DECISION

Florida guard Niels Lane did not play and was not on the bench. A team official said Lane’s absence was a coach’s decision. Lane, a sophomore, has played in just seven games this season and has nearly as many turnovers (7) as points (8).

UP NEXT

LSU hosts Arkansas on Saturday.

Florida plays at South Carolina on Saturday.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Watch What Happens: South Florida woman returns pricey timepieces, owner pays it forward

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(WSVN) – A South Florida woman did a good deed after finding some expensive jewelry. Now just “Watch What Happens” when she returned them to their rightful owner. 7’s Kevin Ozebek reports.

There are two things in life that Michelle Bucur is passionate about: rescuing homeless animals…

Michelle Bucur: “So right now, I have three fosters. One of them is Hunter. (to Hunter) You’re so sweet. I love you.”

And Teslas.

Michelle Bucur: “I have 10 Teslas.”

In her spare time, Michelle volunteers at Wonder Paws Animal Rescue in Fort Lauderdale.

She also rents out her Star Wars-themed Teslas through a rental service called Turo.

Michelle Bucur: “Which is a peer-to-peer rental platform similar to Airbnb, but instead of for homes, it’s for vehicles.”

During the Christmas holiday, Michelle rented out a Tesla Model Y to a man from Boca Raton. When the rental period ended, she picked up the car and took it straight to a car wash.

Michelle Bucur: “Long story short, a week later, the previous guest contacted me and lets me know that he’s lost some of his belongings, and if we found them. I actually hadn’t seen them.”

The car had already been rented out to a new guest, who told Michelle nothing was in the car.

She then called the car wash … and got some good news.

Michelle Bucur: “They said, ‘Oh yeah, we found some watches on the side of the door, and we shoved them in the glove box.’”

Michelle wanted to keep the watches safe until she could get her car back, so she used the Tesla app on her phone to lock the car’s glove box.

When she finally got hold of the watches, she realized she was in possession of some pretty pricey timepieces.

Michelle Bucur: “They turned out to be super high-end watches worth like over $100,000 combined.”

They definitely were. They were a Rolex and an Audemars Piguet.

The owner told Michelle that even though they are expensive, their sentimental value is much more.

Michelle Bucur: “One had been given by his mom, who was suffering with Alzheimer’s now.”

Michelle says he offered her a finder’s fee for returning the watches. She declined the money, but gave a suggestion:

Michelle Bucur: “‘I do help with the rescue, and if you’re willing to donate, it’s tax deductible. I can give you the link and whatever donation you want to give to us.’”

He made the donation to Wonder Paws Animal Rescue, but the amount was quite a surprise: $10,000!

Paulina Claure, Wonder Paws Rescue: “We were speechless! We couldn’t believe it. We were in shock when we found out.”

Paulina Claure runs Wonder Paws with her mother, Patricia Lara. They just moved into a storefront in Fort Lauderdale and say this generous donation will make a huge impact.

Paulina Claure: “We have tons of medical cases every day and medical bills that are piling up, so it’s really nice to be able to have that money to be able to put towards our bills.”

Michelle’s foster dog, Hunter, just finished a pricey round of treatment for heartworms. She is excited that more rescued animals can now get the same care.

Michelle Bucur: “What comes around, goes around. I think, if we just continue to do good deeds and always try to help without expecting anything in return, eventually somebody comes around.”

For Michelle, that “eventually” is right now. Her good deed shows that timing is everything.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Mark Rosenberg resigns as FIU president, cites ‘recurring personal health issues’

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WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – Florida International University has begun a national search for their sixth president after accepting Mark B. Rosenberg’s resignation, Friday afternoon.

In a letter to Board of Trustee Dean Colson, Rosenberg wrote that he has chosen to step down immediately to focus on himself and his family.

“I am stepping back so that I may give full attention to recurring personal health issues and to the deteriorating health of my wife, Rosalie,” he wrote in the letter.

He also wrote, “I want to thank our university community. I have always appreciated the ‘can­ do’ attitude of faculty colleagues, professional staff, and our hardworking students, and am grateful for the widespread community support that our university now enjoys.”

Rosenberg had been president since 2009.

FIU students hearing the news said they feel sad to see him go, calling him part of the school’s legacy.

“He was a really good president, and I’m definitely going to remember him,” said student Maria Aguirre. “He did a lot for the school and for the community, and he was always with the students.”

“Everything comes to an end at one point, so I think it’s time for him to retire, so he can just rest and be with his wife,” said student Katherine Cadavid.

Prior to Rosenberg’s letter to the FIU community, a letter was sent out by Colson.

Along with accepting Rosenberg’s resignation, the letter went on to reference a possible interim president.

“I will be nominating Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration Dr. Kenneth Jessell to serve as interim president while we conduct a national search for FIU’s sixth president,” wrote Colson.

In ending his letter, Rosenberg said, “It has truly been the honor of a lifetime to represent our community and help build our FIU.”

FIU’s Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting Friday afternoon.

While Rosenberg had celebrated success in FIU, he also helped the student body through one of the school’s darkest days, after 2018’s bridge collapse.

But despite rave reviews and more than a decade of leadership, conspicuously missing from the Board of Trustees’ emergency meeting was any mention of Rosenberg’s long list of accomplishments. In fact, his name was never mentioned at all.

The only FIU official to mention his name publicly was the school’s new interim president, during a taped video message.

During the emergency meeting, the board of trustees appointed Jessell to the job.

“I want to thank former president Mark Rosenberg for his leadership and heard work, and making FIU what is is today. I know that we will continue to elevate our university to new heights,” said Jessell.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Homestead Police release picture of person of interest in fatal hit-and-run

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HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) – Homestead Police released a picture of a man they consider to be a person of interest in a hit-and-run that left an elderly man dead.

Police on Friday said they would like to question 20-year-old Edgar Mendez about Sunday’s crash in the area of Northwest Eighth Street and Campbell Drive.

Investigators said 71-year-old Carlos Diaz was walking was hit by a driver who took off before police responded.

If you have any information on this hit-and-run or Mendez’s whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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