Mar 24, 2013, 8:49 PM EST
We’re still not sure how Florida will fare in a close game against a high-major opponent after the Gators’ 78-64 win over Minnesota, but coach Billy Donovan’s team almost manufactured a close game for themselves down the stretch.
After leading by as much as 18 points with 17:18 to play in the second half, Minnesota rallied to eight points with 8:46 left. That’s when Florida’s defense stepped up and Minnesota hit a drought. Gopher guard Andre Hollins picked up his fourth foul and could not score another field goal for almost six minutes.
That allowed Florida to stave off Minnesota and expand the lead before a three-pointer from guard Mike Rosario put a nail in the coffin with 3:18 to play and the lead at 17 points. Rosario finished with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
Florida moves on to play the winner of Florida Gulf Coast and San Diego State, a game that is currently underway. Florida Gulf Coast has looked like the most confident team in this entire NCAA tournament, a team that came in as a No. 15 seed that had lost to Lipscomb twice this season. They have been fittingly dubbed “Dunk City” for their uptempo, athletic style of play. If the Eagles advance, Florida will have to use that signature pressure defense to contain point guard Brett Comer and forward Sherwood Brown.
If San Diego State advances, Jamaal Franklin will be the focus for Florida. His ability to get out in transition and work around the rim makes him one of the most versatile players in the Mountain West.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
- Late Night Snacks: Villanova survives Syracuse while UNC, SMU get big wins 0
- No. 1 Kentucky dismantles UCLA 4
- Markus Kennedy cleared to play immediately for SMU 0
- Weekend Preview: A loaded Saturday slate highlights the weekend 4
- Rebounding, foul shooting help No. 2 Duke make up for 19 turnovers in win over UConn 0
- Michigan State starting forward to miss next two games with non-displaced wrist fracture 0
- Film Session: What’s plaguing Marcus Paige? 1
- Gregg Marshall writes to Wichita State students after seeing empty seats in student section (PHOTO) (7)
- Report: David Robinson’s son will be preferred walk-on at Duke in 2015-16 (VIDEO) (6)
- West Virginia’s Bob Huggins torches Marshall after coach calls Huggs ‘afraid’ (5)
- Lauren Hill’s playing career over, to become honorary coach (4)
- Weekend Preview: A loaded Saturday slate highlights the weekend (4)