Friday, April 20, 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
Former Ohio State, University of Tampa coach Earle Bruce dies

Former Ohio State, University of Tampa coach Earle Bruce dies

Former Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce, whose nine-year tenure in Columbus came after one season as coach of the University of Tampa's now-defunct program, passed away earlier this morning at age 87.Mr. Bruce reportedly had been battling Alzhei...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

The NFL did the Bucs no favors with their 2018 schedule, Rick Stroud says, making them open at New Orleans, followed by home games against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Plus, linebacker Kendall Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle, p...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays’ Chris Archer ready to move past messy outing tonight against Twins

Rays’ Chris Archer ready to move past messy outing tonight against Twins

Rays RHP Chris Archer goes into tonight's start against the Twins with no trouble moving on from his messy Saturday performance against the Phillies that included arguably the worst inning of his career."It's already gone," Archer said Wednesday...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Memorable off day for Rays’ Ryan Yarbrough

Memorable off day for Rays’ Ryan Yarbrough

Rays rookie LHP Ryan Yarbrough has enjoyed everything about his first major-league experience, from pitching in the games to traveling in top-notch style to getting to play in front of family and friends to seeing his first paycheck.And then the Lake...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Life got you down? The Miracle League is back and making miracles again

Life got you down? The Miracle League is back and making miracles again

ST. PETERSBURG — An old friend is back in the lineup.The Kiwanis of Gulf Beaches Miracle League, which champions baseball for the physically and mentally challenged, returned with a flourish Saturday morning. We're better for it."This...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions. The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Mallex Smith has style.Effervescent personality. Pop culture hipness. Sense of fashion with accoutrements.Now the Rays are going to find out if he has game.More specifically, enough game to be a front-line outfielder, even an i...
Updated: 6 hours ago
NHL makes right call in not suspending Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov

NHL makes right call in not suspending Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov

The NHL got it right.Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning's top scorer and best player so far in these playoffs, will play Saturday's Game 5 against New Jersey. He's not going to be suspended for his vicious hit on a Devils player in Tampa Bay's Game 4 vic...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

TAMPA – Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle he suffered in a car accident in Louisiana last week, putting his status for the start of the season in question.Beckwith was passenger in car driven by former L...
Updated: 12 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 19

Thursday’s scoreboardBaseballDixie Hollins 8, Canterbury 0Northeast 13, Lakewood 3Calvary Christian 5, Berkeley Prep 2
Published: 04/19/18