Gators finish off UCLA for 29th straight win

Gators Put Away Bruins

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Florida Gators are back where their previous three seasons have ended with one more likelihood to go to the Remaining Four.

Being within the Elite Eight again, though, simply isn't enough.

Michael Frazier II hit 5 three-pointers and finished with 19 points as the Gators beat UCLA 79-68 on Thursday night time to succeed in their fourth consecutive NCAA regional closing.

"We just talked about it, and it isn't sufficient for us," Florida senior Will Yeguete said. "We've got two days to get ready for a superb team, and we're simply going to go for it on Saturday."

The Gators (35-2) additionally prolonged the very best profitable streak in class history to 29 straight in reaching the South Regional last.

"From a group side, I believe we've executed an ideal job of just staying in the second and just trying to chase greatness," Frazier mentioned. "Whenever you do that, complacency is not an element, so I feel we have carried out a great job all year of just staying in the moment and chasing greatness."

The tournament's general prime seed will play 11th-seeded Dayton on Saturday night for a visit to the Closing Four. Dayton beat Stanford 82-72 earlier Thursday night time.

"Proper now we acquired to place this game behind us and get focused on Dayton," Florida senior Scottie Wilbekin said. "They're an important staff. Everyone is at this level within the season, and so we received to be locked in and prepared as a result of it will be a battle."

Wilbekin added 13 points for Florida. Casey Prather had 12 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith had 10. Kasey Hill had 10 assists. The Gators have not lost since Dec. 2.

The Gators misplaced to Michigan a yr ago in a regional closing.

"Nevertheless it's a new workforce that we've got, and we're taking part in a new team so it's a completely different situation," Wilbekin stated. "We're simply excited to get this win and transfer on to the next recreation. We're completely targeted on that. The previous has no impression."

UCLA (28-9) was back in a regional semifinal for the first time since 2008 underneath first-12 months coach Steve Alford. But the Bruins just could not match Florida's bodily protection or outshoot the Gators. UCLA now is zero-four against Florida coach Billy Donovan all time – all in the NCAA tournament.

"They played very effectively," Alford said of the Gators. "They're an impressive basketball group."

Florida shot 50 p.c (29-of-58) for the game, together with 59.three % in the second half. UCLA completed at forty two.2 p.c (27-of-sixty four) in only its fifth sport scoring fewer than 70 points this season. The Bruins have been a cold 1-of-12 beyond the arc within the second half.

Jordan Adams led the Bruins with 17 points, and Kyle Anderson had 11 and 5 assists with nine rebounds. Travis Wear added 14.

Frazier confirmed off the Gators' capturing expertise. He had hit solely three of thirteen photographs beyond the arc by means of the Gators' first two match wins however hit five of his first six towards UCLA.

The Gators led 36-30 at halftime and clicked on a unique degree within the second half. They hit their first six shots and eight of their first 10. Each time UCLA tried to make a run, Florida answered. First, it was Frazier hitting consecutive three-pointers as UCLA pulled within 43-39.

When the Bruins pulled within 56-55 on a layup by Norman Powell halfway via the half, Finney-Smith hit a jumper for the first of 10 straight points. The Gators had UCLA working up and down the courtroom a lot Adams couldn't even hit the rim with a jumper despite having an open take a look at the basket.

Wilbekin completed off the run with a 3-level play that had the Gators solidly in control, up 66-fifty five with 5:34 left.

"He hit two large shots down the stretch," Anderson said. "That's what you count on out of your senior level guard. He's been right here in the Sweet sixteen 4 years. He made huge photographs. Credit to him."

For all the discuss of Florida's stingy defense, UCLA opened the game blocking the Gators' first two pictures. The Bruins blocked only two extra pictures the rest of the sport.

The Bruins got here in as one of many nation's best scoring groups, averaging eighty one.5 points a game. Florida showed early it might shoot, too, hitting 5 of eight shots from past the arc in spurt that turned a 14-eleven deficit right into a 20-16 lead. Again-to-again 3s from Frazier put the Gators forward to stay.

Each time Anderson acquired the ball close to the UCLA basket, he discovered himself with no less than two Gators making an attempt to smother him.

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