Austin, TX (Sports Network) - Erik Murphy scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting
and grabbed eight rebounds, and Florida used a strong second half to cruise
past Northwestern State, 79-47, in South Region second-round action of the
Patric Young poured in 16 points and pulled down nine boards for the third-
seeded Gators (27-7), who held Northwestern State to just 15 points in the
final 20 minutes of play to move on to face either UCLA or Minnesota in
Sunday's third round.
DeQuan Hicks had 12 points and eight rebounds for the 14th-seeded Demons
(23-9), who trailed by eight at halftime but struggled to slow down the
Northwestern State was appearing in its first NCAA Tournament in seven years
after winning the Southland Conference Tournament title.
The matchup featured two of the nation's top offensive and defensive teams, as
Northwestern State is known for a unique, 10-man rotation and up tempo attack
which leads the NCAA in scoring with 81.5 points per contest. Florida, on the
other hand, ranks third in the nation allowing just 53.7 points per contest.
After starting the second half with a eight-point deficit, Northwestern State
scored four unanswered to get within 40-36. Kenny Boynton then kicked off a
9-2 swing -- en route to scoring his 2,000th career point -- to put Florida
ahead by 11 with 14:20 remaining.
The Demons briefly closed the margin to eight, but the team's pace and style
of play soon slowed down as the Gators took control with a 19-1 flurry to
quickly alter the contest.
Scottie Wilbekin highlighted the end the run with a half court alley-oop slam
to Casey Prather to make it 63-42 with 8 1/2 to play. Nearly two minutes
later, Murphy's layup extended the margin to 26 and Florida never looked back.
Northwestern State's struggles during the run were eye-opening, even for the
nation's top scoring unit. The team went 6:28 without a point and just over
seven minutes without a field goal.
The first half, as expected, was high-paced. The Demons hung around thanks to
their tempo, and trailed, 23-21, with 10:25 to play. Florida then had a 9-2
spurt, capped off by a Rosario triple which made it 32-24.
Northwestern State closed the gap to four with just over two minutes to play
in the half before Florida took a 40-32 edge into the break. The Gators scored
26 points in the paint in the half, while the Demons shot 54.2 percent (13-
of-24) from the floor.
Florida is 5-0 all-time against current Southland Conference teams, including
2-0 in NCAA Tournament play ... Wilbekin and Boynton finished with 11 points
apiece for Florida ... In the Demons' last tournament appearance in 2006, the
team upset Iowa as a No. 14 seed ... Boynton needed five points for 2,000 in
his career. He joined Ronnie Williams as the only Gator in that club ...
Florida has held 13 opponents under 50 points and 24 to under 60 for the
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