Florida advances to Sweet 16 for seventh time in school history with 84-50 rout of Norfolk State

By Adam Silverstein
March 18, 2012

The Florida Gators advanced to the Sweet 16 for the seventh time in school history after putting together a blowout 84-50 victory on Sunday night in Omaha, NE. No. 7-seed Florida (25-10) routed the No. 15-seed Norfolk State Spartans (26-10) in third-round action, advancing in the 2012 NCAA Tournament in dominant fashion.

The Gators made seven three-pointers in the first half, notched eight assists on 16 baskets, and outrebounded the Spartans 21-13 while holding the lower seed to 25.8 percent shooting (16.7 percent from beyond the arc). NSU did not have a single player score more than three first-half points while five UF players eclipsed that figure.

Down two to Norfolk State nearly four minutes into the game, Florida suddenly erupted on an impressive 25-0 run while going 5-of-7 from downtown to jump ahead 29-6 midway through the first half. NSU was held scoreless for 7:08 during UF’s scoring stretch, and the Gators were able to increase their lead to 25 points moments later.

The Spartans utilized a quick 5-0 scoring spurt to cut their deficit to 20, but it did not even putting a dent in their opponent’s momentum. Florida scored five-straight points to end the half and went into the locker rooms with a 28-point lead thanks to a three by redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario at the buzzer.

The Gators kept the pressure on after the break, taking a 31-point lead less than two minutes into the half, extending that advantage to 36 points with 3:20 remaining in the contest and holding on the rest of the way for a dominant victory.

Junior guard Kenny Boynton led the way for Florida with 20 points (on 7-of-12 shooting) and a career-high eight rebounds along with four assists. Four other Gators scored in double-digits including Rosario (12 points), senior point guard Erving Walker (15 points), freshman G Bradley Beal (14 points) and junior forward Erik Murphy (10 points). Beal and Walker each added three assists and two steals to their respective totals; the former also had a game-high nine boards while Walker grabbed three.

Florida will take on No. 3-seed Marquette on Thursday in Phoenix, AZ at a to-be-determined time. The Gators have now advanced to the Sweet 16 in consecutive seasons and four of the last seven years.

Photo Credit: Nati Harnik/Associated Press


  1. Aligator says:

    Great Job Gators!!

  2. wgator40 says:

    I really believed last years team was Billy’s best coaching job ever but he may have out done himself with this squad. The make up of the team was fundamentally flawed from the beginning (even before yeugette went down) but he has guided them to dominating birth in the sweet 16 . imagine if this team had a center! congratulations to BD and his Gators ; everything from here on out is gravy.

  3. chigator says:

    I really think that most Gator fans do not fully appreciate Billy Donovan. Not only is he a really good guy, he might be one of the best coaches out there. What he does at UF is simply amazing. Before he got to UF, the basketball program was a joke. He now has us competing with programs like MSU, Duke and UK in terms of post-season records. Simply put, CoachD is going to hold some records by the time he is done; it is our jobs as fans to support him and the team as much as we can. There might only be a select number of coaches you would choose over Billy in March.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      It didn’t have anywhere near the level of respect it has today, but it was hardly a joke. We had just gone to a final 4 a couple of years before he got here.

  4. gatorboi352 says:

    ” imagine if this team had a center!”

    I know a few teams in the tournament that would trade whatever “center” they are wheeling out onto the court every game for Patric Young.

    Imagine if we had a center lol wow.

  5. CH says:

    I agree with wgator40. Great job coaching by Billy. I’m holding back my optimism, but it seems like Wilbekin, Rosario, and Prather have realized their role and how important they are to the team. Everyone is playing great basketball at the right time, but those three bench players have, IMO, been the difference in a team that could have been a first round out to a team that can beat anyone in their backet.

    Good Luck Gators!

  6. sjkoepp says:

    Can’t believe the whooping we’re giving these teams. Feels great. Every analyst is being such a pain though- we’re always expected to lose. Everyone has Marquette winning. I say it’s gonna be a closer game but we’re just way too hot right now.

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