Gators Advance to Final Four

By: UF Sports Information Email
By: UF Sports Information Email

Memphis, TN - The Gators will keep on dancing.

Next stop, the Final Four.

The No. 1-ranked Gators won their 30th consecutive game with a 62-52 victory over Dayton here in the South Region final on Saturday night.

Florida is going to its first Final Four since 2007, the year the Gators won the second of their back-to-back national titles.

After three consecutive trips to the Elite Eight and being forced to watch the other team cut down the nets, it was Florida's turn Saturday.

The Gators broke open a close game late in the first half by going on a 15-1 run to grab a 38-24 halftime lead. The Gators then maintained a safe lead most of the second half to improve to 36-2 heading into next weekend's Final Four in Arlington, Texas.

The senior foursome of Patric Young, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete and Casey Prather all played important roles Saturday.

Wilbekin, named the Most Outstanding Player of the South Region, scored a game-high 23 points and did not commit a turnover. In two games in Memphis, Wilbekin averaged 18 points per game and did not commit a single turnover.

Wilbekin hit a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to end the first half -- reminiscent of his shot to end the first half in the win over Pittsburgh a week earlier -- to give Florida a 14-point halftime lead, their biggest since a 49-28 advantage over Kentucky on Senior Day at O'Connell Center.

Meanwhile, Young added 12 points and six rebounds, Yeguete chipped in with four points and seven rebounds, and Prather finished with six points and seven rebounds.

"For the four seniors, I'm so proud of what they have accomplished in their careers,'' Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "I'm glad they get the opportunity to play in the Final Four."

The Gators lost to Butler (2011), Louisville (2012) and Michigan (2013) in the Elite Eight the last three seasons.

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