Men's basketball | NCAA tournament roundup

MEN'S BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Gators, Badgers reach Final Four

2014-03-29T21:00:00Z 2014-03-29T22:49:12Z MEN'S BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Gators, Badgers reach Final FourThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 29, 2014 9:00 pm  • 

The Florida Gators are first yet again this season.

Scottie Wilbekin scored 14 of his 23 points in the first half, and Florida became the first team to advance to the Final Four with a 62-52 win Saturday night over the 11th-seeded Dayton Flyers in the South Region final at Memphis, Tenn.

The Gators reached their fifth Final Four after losing at this point in each of the past three NCAA tournaments. This time, they came in as the country's top-ranked team and the overall No. 1 seed.

Florida won its 30th straight game and improved to 36-2, topping the 35 wins by the 2007 national championship squad.

Patric Young scored 12 points, and Michael Frazier II added 10 for Florida. The Gators will play either UConn or Michigan State in Arlington, Texas, in the national semifinal.

Dyshawn Pierre led the Flyers (26-11) with 18 points. Devin Oliver added 12 points.

Dayton came in trying to become only the fourth 11 seed to advance to the Final Four. The Flyers had upset Ohio State and Syracuse in reaching their first regional final since 1984. They missed their second Final Four and first since 1967 with Florida holding them to their lowest scoring game this season.

The Flyers outshot Florida 39.6 percent (19 of 48) to 37.5 percent (18 of 48), but the Gators outrebounded them 37-26. They also had a massive edge at the free throw line (21 of 28) compared to Dayton (6 of 8).

Florida finished the first half on a 15-1 run to take the lead for good, going up 38-24. The Flyers opened the second half with two quick 3s to pull within eight, only to watch the Gators push their lead to 17 with 11:35 left on a layup by Young.

The Flyers kept coming but couldn't get closer than eight in the second half, the last at 58-50 as the Gators went cold down the stretch, once missing five shots on one possession.

Dayton missed chances to cut the lead as Oliver missed a 3-pointer with 2:07 left, then Scoochie Smith threw it away trying to pass out to Matt Kavanaugh.

Then Wilbekin ended the Gators' scoring drought at 4:39 with a pair of free throws, and he hit four of six at the line to finish the game.

Dayton took over the FedExForum so thoroughly that the Gators were booed when they came out for warm-ups and pre-game introductions. Archie Miller tried to use his deep bench, using 10 Flyers trying to wear out the Gators with sheer numbers. Florida coach Billy Donovan nearly matched Dayton by going nine deep himself.

Wisconsin 64, Arizona 63, OT: Wisconsin bumped and grinded its way into the Final Four.

Frank Kaminsky had 28 points and 11 rebounds for Wisconsin, rallying the Badgers to an overtime victory against Arizona in the West Region final in Anaheim, Calif.

The Badgers (30-7) advanced to their first Final Four appearance since 2000 on Saturday night, and first for 69-year-old coach Bo Ryan, who earned his 704th career victory.

Nick Johnson had the ball with a chance to win, but he missed a shot that came just after the buzzer for Arizona (33-5), the top-seeded team that has yet to win a West Region final in Anaheim in four tries. Johnson led the Wildcats with 16 points, and Aaron Gordon had 18 rebounds in the relentlessly physical game.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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