Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

Gators beat UCLA, reach NCAA's Elite Eight

MEMPHIS — During Florida's pregame shootaround Thursday afternoon, coach Billy Donovan called sophomore guard Michael Frazier aside and told him he needed to shoot with more confidence. Frazier, a prolific 3-point shooter, was just 3-of-13 from beyond the arc in the Gators' first two NCAA Tournament games.

On Thursday night, Frazier went 5-of-8 from 3-point range and scored a game-high 19 to lead the Gators to a 79-68 victory over UCLA in the NCAA South Region semifinals in front of 14,991 at FedExForum.

The Gators, the No. 1 overall seed, play No. 11 Dayton — an 82-72 winner over Stanford — at 6:09 p.m. Saturday in the South Region final. It's Florida's fourth straight trip to the Elite Eight. Dayton advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984.

"It feels great," said senior guard Scottie Wilbekin, who scored eight of Florida's 10 points during a four-minute stretch late in the game to help seal the win. "Our goal tonight was to get to the Elite Eight. Now we have to put this behind us. Every team now is good, so we have to be locked in."

Florida (35-2) is trying to advance to its first Final Four since 2007 — the year the Gators won a second consecutive national title. UF improved its winning streak to 29 games.

Thursday's contest marked the 15th NCAA Tournament game played by Florida seniors Wilbekin and Patric Young, tying the UF record held by Lee Humphrey and Chris Richard.

With his five 3-pointers in the game, Frazier broke Humphrey's school season record of 113 set twice, in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

"Coach pulled aside and told me to shoot it with confidence, and I just tried to take good ones tonight and they were able to fall through," Frazier said.

Thursday night's game was the fourth NCAA Tournament meeting between the Gators and Bruins since 2006, and Florida has won them all.

"From a team aspect, I think we've done a great job of just staying in the moment and just trying to chase greatness," Frazier said. "When you do that, complacency isn't a factor, so I think we've done a great job all year of just staying in the moment and chasing greatness."

"We're bowing out of this tournament, but we got beat by an outstanding team," UCLA coach Steve Alford said.

Florida led 36-30 at halftime, shooting 41 percent from the field, while allowing the Bruins (28-9) to shoot 44 percent. But the Gators shot 6-of-6 from the field to open the second half and took a 50-39 lead with 15:48 remaining in the game.

But as they did in the first half, the Bruins kept coming back, going on a 7-0 run to pull within 50-46 with 13:34 remaining.

And then came trouble for the Gators when Young picked up his fourth foul with 10:16 remaining. UCLA managed to pull within 56-55 with 10 minutes remaining, but Florida answered with a 10-0 run and UCLA could never take the lead.

"I thought our guys were able to stay the course," Donovan said. "It was a team effort, at different points and times different guys stepped up to help us win."

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

TAMPA — The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether those players are currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.For now, C Cory Conacher will try to t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising.After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had players-only meeti...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Friday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosNASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony8 p.m.NBCSNCollege basketballBuffalo at Western Michigan7 p.m.ESPNUSt. Bonaventure at Davidson7 p.m.ESPN2Canisius at Manhattan9 p.m.ESPNUIllinois at Wisconsin9 p.m.FS1College gymnasticsFlorida at Kentuc...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Strong ties: USF vs. Louisville

Strong ties: USF vs. Louisville

TAMPA — USF has scheduled a three-game football series with Louisville — coach Charlie Strong’s former team — starting in 2022, giving his Bulls nine games against Power Five teams over the next seven years.USF visits Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 18

Thursday’s scoreboardGirls basketballNortheast 64, Largo 24Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 3, Berkeley Prep 2Palm Harbor U. 7, Tarpon Springs 0Girls soccerCountryside 5, Pinellas Park 0Palm Harbor U. 5, Tarpon Springs 1...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Djokovic wins in rising heat

Djokovic wins in rising heat

MELBOURNE, Australia — On a day when shade was a valuable commodity in the searing heat at Melbourne Park, Roger Federer played it cool at the Australian Open. Six-time champion Novak Djokovic, however, complained about the brutal conditions during h...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Sports in brief

GymnasticsUSA gymnastics Ends deal with KAROLYI ranch tainted by SEX abuse allegationsINDIANAPOLIS — The long relationship between USA Gymnastics and the Karolyi Ranch is over. The organization announced Thursday that it has terminated its agreement ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Star battle: Team LeBron versus Team Stephen

Star battle: Team LeBron versus Team Stephen

Team LeBron against Team Stephen is the NBA’s new All-Star matchup. Cleveland’s LeBron James and Golden State’s Stephen Curry will go head-to-head again, this time as captains who pick teams for the revamped All-Star Game. James and Curry received th...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bruins continue climb up Atlantic Division

Bruins continue climb up Atlantic Division

NEW YORK — Patrice Bergeron scored three goals to lead Boston to a 5-2 victory over the Islanders on Thursday night, giving the Bruins at least a point for the 15th consecutive game. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists as Boston improved to 11-0...
Updated: 6 hours ago
McIlroy returns from injury, trails by 3 in first round of European Tour event

McIlroy returns from injury, trails by 3 in first round of European Tour event

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy’s patience was tested Thursday on his comeback, needing three late birdies to shoot 3-under 69 that left him three strokes behind first-round leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara at the Abu Dhabi ...
Updated: 6 hours ago