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Florida Gators defeat BYU Cougars 83-74 in overtime in NCAA Tournament

NEW ORLEANS — When Florida and BYU met in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, it took two overtimes to determine a winner.

Thursday night at the New Orleans Arena, the Gators and Cougars again needed a few extra minutes to determine the outcome.

This time it was the Gators who prevailed.

No. 2 seed Florida defeated No. 3 seed BYU 83-74 in overtime of the Southeast Region. Florida (29-7), which has won 13 of its past 15, advances to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2007. The Gators meet No. 8 seed Butler on Saturday.

"I was really proud of our guys," said Florida coach Billy Donovan, who is taking his fourth Gator team to the final eight. "I thought coming into the game these guys prepared really, really hard, and I thought they prepared well. Knowing there's a lot made of Jimmer Fredette, the key was going to be trying to stop the other four guys who are on the court with him because you can't dictate when he's going to shoot in the game. The key was we were able to hold all their guys under double-figure points other than Fredette."

Fredette went 0-for-2 from 3-point range and had two turnovers in overtime. He had a game-high 32 points, scoring nine of BYU's final 10 in regulation, but he missed two 3-point attempts in the final 1:42. BYU ends its season at 32-5.

"I had two 3s, two opportunities, and I thought both of them were actually pretty good looks," Fredette said. "I had space to shoot, and I had confidence to make the shot. It just didn't happen. I didn't shoot the ball well. Credit their defense."

Florida sophomore guard Kenny Boynton had a stellar defensive effort against Fredette, who was 11-of-29 and often tried off-balance, contested shots.

"Any player, if you let him shoot that many shots, he's going to get a lot of points," said Boynton, who had 17 points and five assists. "I think I did a pretty good job."

And while Boynton was all over Fredette, senior forward Alex Tyus was having the game of his career, with a career-high 17 rebounds and 19 points.

"It means a lot to be able to come out and play to my ability and help the team out in many different ways," Tyus said.

Unlike last year, Florida players said there was no panic when the game went into overtime.

"We just kept saying we've got to get some stops," senior center Vernon Macklin said. "We've got to find a way to stop them and win this game."

Florida is 4-1 in overtime games this season, and the Gators said that previous success gave them confidence.

"I think we know how to stay focused and stay in the moment," said Erving Walker, who had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists, and grabbed an offensive rebound in the final 22 seconds of regulation to allow the Gators to attempt a final shot with the score tied at 68. "They made a run to come back in the second half, but we stayed together. And we're in good condition. We've got a lot of good energy in the overtime."

With Florida's final regulation play, senior forward Chandler Parsons drove into traffic, the play broke down, and his shot missed badly as time expired.

"I just wanted to make sure we got the last shot and to not give them a chance to get the ball back," said Parsons who had 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Florida Gators defeat BYU Cougars 83-74 in overtime in NCAA Tournament 03/24/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 1:30am]

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