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2014 NCAA Tournament: Florida 79, UCLA 68

It was tight throughout, but Florida pulled away late to advance to the Sweet 16.

Kevin C. Cox

Florida and UCLA played a close game, but the top seeded Gators made a late charge to seal it away at 79-68.

The first half played roughly in Florida's comfort zone. It was relatively low scoring, as it led to a 36-30 halftime Gator lead, and the tempo remained controlled. The second half was a bit more free flowing, and it favored the Bruins. Florida tried to make a few runs to push out a big lead, but every time, UCLA would answer with a run of its own.

The Bruins cut the edge down to just one point with about 10 minutes to go, but that was the point where Florida really turned the screws on them. Dorian Finney-Smith responded with a jumper, Michael Frazier hit a three a couple possessions later, and then Scottie Wilbekin scored six straight points. That sequence put UF up by eleven as its defense solidified too. UCLA didn't score between 10:04 and 5:14 on the clock, and by then it was too late. Wilbekin made a circus shot, Casey Prather had a couple of press-breaking dunks, and Florida held on.

Frazier was the top scorer in the game with 19, including hitting five-of-eight from downtown. He really broke out of the mini-slump he had in the first two rounds. Wilbekin had 13, with ten coming in the second half, and Kasey Hill had ten assists off the bench. Jordan Adams, who kept UCLA afloat for longer than it should have been in the second half, had 17 for the Bruins, as UF held Kyle Anderson to just 11 points on 4-11 shooting.

The Gators move on to face 11-seed Dayton in the Elite Eight, which beat 10-seed Stanford in the earlier game in Memphis. It's the program's fourth consecutive regional final appearance, making it just the third program since 1980 to do so along with Kentucky and Duke.

Of course, the Gators flamed out in each of the previous three, and the last time an 11-seed faced a 1-seed, VCU upset Kansas in 2011. Then again, Florida did beat 11-seed George Mason in the 2006 Final Four. The Flyers are hot, but pick against Florida at your own risk.