Final Four: Florida overcomes deficiencies

By Jerry Palm - April 01, 2007

Florida overcame its deficiencies again tonight to post another win against a pretty good team that seemed to be the kind of team to take advantage of those problems.

The Gators turned the ball over 16 times tonight to only three for UCLA. Florida only hit 19-31 free throws. Yet, the not only won, they won easily.

Florida shot the ball very well, after yet another slow start. Brewer and Richard carried the load there. Brewer was 5-7 for 19 points and Richard was a perfect 7-7 for 14. The Gators ended up hitting 24-45 for 53% after starting only 1-7. The 31 free throws was 18 more than UCLA attempted, so even though they only hit 19, the Gators were still +8 on the scoreboard from the stripe. They also hit 9-22 three pointers (again, after a 1-7 start). Coach Billy Donovan talked after the game about that shot being the one the defense was giving them because UCLA was double-teaming the post.

Even though Florida dominated the boards (Horford and Noah had 28 by themselves, UCLA had 26 as a team), that was more a function of UCLA missing more shots. The Gators only had 8 offensive rebounds to 6 for the Bruins, but outscored UCLA on second chance points 16-4.

When looking ahead to Ohio St and comparing this to their earlier meeting (an 86-60 Florida win in Gainesville on Dec 23), Donovan said, "That was at home, right before Christmas. I think when you have freshman and it's right before Christmas, there's a growing process. At that point, Oden was not where he's at today. It should be a great matchup."

So I will leave Eric to write the obituary on UCLA and head off to find food and drink. The lasagna they served us tonight was pretty good, but that was several hours ago. I'll be back tomorrow with nuggets of wisdom from the Florida press conference.

Posted by Jerry Palm at 12:19 AM on April 01, 2007

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