Gators beat UCLA, advance to Elite 8

By Kevin Talley - Sports photographer/producer
Headline Goes Here AP photo by Mark Humphrey

Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin flies by UCLA guard Norman Powell and UCLA forward Travis Wear during the first half in a regional semifinal game in Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Top ranked Florida rode Michael Frazier's hot three point shooting and Scottie Wilbekin's clutch baskets down the stretch to beat UCLA 79-68 and advance to their fourth consecutive Elite 8.

"I thought Scottie made some great plays especially late in the game," Gators head coach Billy Donovan said. "I thought Michael Frazier from start to finish played well. I thought it was a team effort and different guys stepped up at different times to help get the win."

Frazier hit five three pointers and in the process broke the single season record at Florida with 115 made three pointers this season.

Frazier's last three gave Florida (35-2) a 48-39 lead with three minutes gone in the second half.

"Coach pulled me aside in the shootaround today (Thursday) and told me to shoot with confidence," Frazier said. "That's all I tried to do tonight is take good shots and they just fell tonight."

UCLA used a 16-6 run to cut the Gators lead to 56-55 with 10 minutes remaining.

Wilbekin took over as the Gators went on a 10-0 run to put the game away. Wilbekin hit a three pointer to give Florida a 63-55 lead and the next time down the court Wilbekin drove the lane for a basket and drew a foul for the three point play. Florida extended the lead to 66-55 with 5:30 to play.

Wilbekin says he lives for clutch situations. "Those are the times of the game where the game is on the line where it's the most fun to play. It's fun it's definitely fun being in games like this."

Recap | Boxscore

"That was huge. That's what you expect from your senior point guard," UCLA guard Kyle Anderson said. "He's been in the Sweet 16 for four years so credit to him."

Frazier lead the Gators with 19 points while Wilbekin pitched in 13 points (10 in the second half).

The Gators will play Dayton at 6:09 pm Saturday in Memphis for the right to advance to the Final Four in Dallas next weekend.

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