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No. 10 Florida, Georgetown embrace unique opener

Thursday - 11/8/2012, 5:35pm  ET

AP Sports Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One of the first things Florida coach Billy Donovan did upon boarding the USS Bataan was ask about touring the gun turret.

Forget the wind, the open-air backdrop, the chilly temperatures and potential court condensation.

This was bigger than basketball, and Donovan knew it.

Donovan says, "To be on this ship, sharing a moment like this, means more than I can ever express."

No. 10 Florida and Georgetown were thrilled to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime event _ Friday's season opener on the deck of an ambitious assault ship.

Both teams toured the Bataan on Thursday, posing for pictures and talking to everyone wearing a uniform and taking part in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic. Donovan even invited three former Navy basketball players assigned to the Bataan to help run shoot-around.

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