Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Feel Sweet 16 Again; Third Consecutive Trip for UF, with a Surprising No. 15 Seed Up Next

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Feel Sweet 16 Again; Third Consecutive Trip for UF, with a Surprising No. 15 Seed Up Next

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

AUSTIN, TEXAS | Florida might play a game decided by six points or less in the NCAA Tournament.

But it didn't happen in Austin.

Senior guard Mike Rosario scored a season-high 25 points to lead the third-seeded Gators to a 78-64 win over 11-seed Minnesota in a South Region Round-of-32 matchup on Sunday at the Erwin Center. UF, 0-6 in games decided by six points or less this season, allowed a 21-point halftime lead to dip to seven, but regained control in the final 10 minutes.

"In the second half, we dug deep," said Rosario, who transferred from Rutgers after his sophomore season. "This is a very emotional moment for me. Three years ago, I wasn't in this situation. Now, being with this program, it's a great experience."

Florida (28-7) will meet upstart 15th-seed Florida Gulf Coast in the Sweet 16 on Friday night in Arlington, Texas. The Eagles became the lowest-seeded team to ever reach the Sweet 16 when they defeated San Diego State 81-71 on Sunday night.

The Gators advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season, joining Marquette, Ohio State and Kansas as the only teams in the nation to achieve the feat.

"It says this program is in a really good place right now," said Florida center Patric Young, a Jacksonville native. "But we want championships. We don't want to go just to the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. We want to go past that. We want to go to that championship game, hoist that trophy and cut down the nets."

Florida, the nation's leader in scoring margin, won its two games in Austin by a combined 46 points.

UF defeated 14-seed Northwestern State 79-47 on Friday.

"I really thought our guys came out and played a terrific first half," said Florida coach Billy Donovan, who won his 30th career NCAA Tournament game, improving to 30-10.

"I give our guys a lot of credit in terms of battling and fighting off that run. We made some key plays in key situations."

Minnesota's season ended at 21-13. Golden Gophers coach Tubby Smith dropped to 14-11 all-time against Donovan, losing his seventh consecutive game to UF's coach. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.