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Florida Gators fall to BYU in NCAA men's basketball tournament

OKLAHOMA CITY — Outside of a first-round victory over BYU, what Florida coach Billy Donovan wanted most was to have his team walk off the Ford Center court Thursday afternoon with the knowledge it had given everything it had.

After two extra periods, the Gators left with their pride, but not a win.

No. 10-seeded Florida rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit before losing 99-92 in double overtime to seventh-seeded BYU in the West Region.

It was the first double-overtime NCAA Tournament game for the Gators since a 2002 loss to Creighton.

"I think you want to walk away from a game like this saying, 'You know what? We gave everything we had,' and I felt like we did, we gave everything we had physically," Donovan said. "I don't know what much more those guys could have done physically. We had our chances."

The Cougars (30-5) snapped a streak of seven NCAA Tournament first-round losses.

"I'm just really happy for our guys because this was a long time in coming for our program and it's a big win," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "I give a lot of credit and accolades to Florida for how hard they played."

Missed open shots, which Donovan attributed to fatigue and a lack of depth, plagued the Gators (21-13) in the overtimes, where Florida shot 28 percent from the field. Tied at 81 in the second overtime, BYU outscored Florida 9-2 in the opening 2:18. Guard Jimmer Fredette hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give BYU a 90-83 lead with 2:42 remaining, then hit another 3-pointer with 1:22 left to seal the win. Fredette had a game-high 37 points.

"We did a good job at the end of rebounding the basketball and getting out and making big shots in that second overtime," Fredette said.

Florida also had no answers for Michael Loyd Jr., the BYU guard who averaged 4.6 points off the bench but had a career-high 26 Thursday. BYU closed the first half on a 14-5 run to take a 35-33 lead, with 12 points coming from Loyd.

Florida had opportunities in regulation and the first overtime to win on the final possession.

The Gators overcame the deficit aided by 12 consecutive points from freshman guard Kenny Boynton, to take a 74-70 lead with 1:38 remaining. With the score tied at 81 Boynton got a steal from Fredette, setting up a game-winning attempt. But Chandler Parsons, who during the regular season hit buzzer-beaters in wins over N.C. State and South Carolina, missed a 12-foot jumper with two seconds remaining.

"I felt like I had a good look and shot it," said Parsons, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. "I felt good. I thought it was going to go down. It rode out. It happens. I'd like to have that shot again."

On the final possession of the first overtime, Boynton's pass toward Dan Werner was tipped toward the basket but didn't fall.

Boynton, who had a team-high 27 points, fouled out with 3:51 remaining in the second OT, taking away a critical scoring option.

Now, the Gators prepare for next season.

"We come back next year with a lot of experience," Boynton said. "I think we'll come back a hungrier team. With this loss, we'll only build on it for next year, and hope we get back to the NCAA Tournament."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

BYU 99

Florida 92

double OT

Florida Gators fall to BYU in NCAA men's basketball tournament 03/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 18, 2010 11:21pm]
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