The Gators allow an 18-1 first-half run and never show the patience or accuracy needed to recover in a 75-54 loss.
There was no shock.
There were blank stares. There were bowed heads. There were pockets of uncomfortable stillness around players who had no idea what to do next. But minutes after Florida had been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, there was no show of emotion.
The beating had been too bad.
The No. 3 seed in the South Region, Florida lost 75-54 to No. 11 seed Temple in the second round at the Superdome, failing in its bid to reach the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season.
"It's just disappointing," guard Teddy Dupay said. "It was a tough day."
Temple (23-12) advances to the region semifinal in Atlanta, where it will face No. 7 seed Penn State, an 82-74 upset winner over No. 2 seed North Carolina. The Owls, who might not have made the NCAA field without winning the Atlantic-10 tournament title, have won nine straight.
"I always tell our kids, look at a coin _ heads you win, tails you lose," Temple coach John Chaney said. "You win with your head and lose with your a--. And you want to make sure someone else's foot isn't in it."
Well, if the kicking fits The Gators (24-7) led 20-19 on center Udonis Haslem's basket with 9:17 left when they stopped using their heads. Always eager to speed the pace of a game, they played the rest of the half in a panicked rush.
Temple guard Quincy Wadley made four three-pointers in a four-minute span as the Owls went on an 18-1 run. Florida responded to the blaze with a total meltdown.
"I was amazed at the shots Wadley made," UF coach Billy Donovan said. "I would have told our guys those were terrible shots. You have to give him credit. But when our guys tried to match them three-point shot for three-point shot, it really hurt us."
No longer patient enough to work the ball through the post against Temple's legendary matchup zone, the Gators failed to score a field goal the rest of the half. In the final nine minutes they were 0-for-6, including four attempts beyond the arc, with five turnovers.
The final second of the half signaled UF's doom. Trapped on the sideline with the clock running out, Temple point guard Lynn Greer had no shot. But Haslem leaned into him as Greer flung the ball toward the basket, committing a foul with 0:00.9 on the clock.
Greer made all three free throws.
The 45-25 halftime deficit was UF's largest of the season.
"It's hard to come back against a team that practices ball control," said Wadley, who had 17 points at intermission. "We take our time; we're patient; we're not trying to rush shots. It takes teams out of their games. It demoralizes them."
Temple took its biggest lead, 50-28, on Alex Wesby's jumper with 14:05 left. Though Florida twice cut the margin to 13 _ at 54-41 with 8:27 left and 60-47 with 2:43 _ it never made a serious run.
The Owls were 10-of-10 from the free-throw line in the final 2:47 and punctuated the win with Wadley's deep three-pointer as the shot clock ran out with 3.6 seconds left.
"When you get down by 20 it's very difficult to come back because their guards dominate and manipulate the ball," Donovan said. "They're crafty and clever."
Wadley was 7-of-14 from the floor, 5-of-10 from three-point range, to lead all scorers with 24. Greer added 20, Wesby 13 and center Kevin Lyde 11.
Florida had one of its worst shooting performances of the season: 36 percent from the floor (18-of-50), 27.6 percent from three-point range (8-of-29) and 62.5 percent from the free-throw line (10-of-16).
"Sometimes, shots just don't go in," said Dupay, who was 2-of-9 beyond the arc. "We had a lot of open shots, shots you should hit, and we didn't make any of them. That's the worst part about it."
Guard Brett Nelson was 4-of-8 from three-point range but scored just one field goal in the second half as Temple shut him down with a box-and-one defense.
Haslem led UF with 16 points. Forward Matt Bonner added 13 with 11 rebounds.
"We didn't execute our offense and that's why we lost," Nelson said.
By the time the Gators reached the locker room, there had been plenty of time to accept their fate. It had been evident for more than an hour. Their season was over, and they were to blame.
"I certainly would like to have advanced and gone deeper in the tournament," Donovan said. "I'm disappointed with the way we played. Temple made us pay."