TAMPA, FL - MARCH 19: Tyler Honeycutt #23 of the UCLA Bruins drives against the Florida Gators during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

NCAA Tournament: No. 2 Florida Puts Away No. 7 UCLA, 73-65, To Reach Sweet 16

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NCAA Bracket Update, UCLA Vs. Florida: Erving Walker Carries Gators To Sweet 16

In a game where No. 2 seed Florida lost one key player to injury, a different one provided the means to push the Gators to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA bracket. Erving Walker scored 21 points, including a huge three-pointer to push the lead to four points with a minute to go, and the Gators held off No. 7 seed UCLA, 73-65, in a third-round NCAA Tournament game.

Ten of Walker's 21 points came in the final four minutes, when Florida finally put UCLA away. None were bigger than the three he had to push Florida up four with 1:15 left. The Bruins went for the steal, and Walker out-jumped the UCLA played and stepped into a three-pointer to push the lead to 69-65. UCLA couldn't score on the other end, and the Gators closed it out at the free throw line. 

The potentially bad news for Florida is that guard Kenny Boynton suffered a sprained ankle late in the game when he landed awkwardly on a three-point attempt. He came back in briefly, but went back out again. His status for the next round is still up in the air.

Florida will now play the winner of the game between No. 3 seed BYU and No. 11 seed Gonzaga later Saturday night.

Here is an updated look at the Southeast Region of the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket.


No. 1 Pittsburgh vs. No. 8 Butler, Saturday, March 19, 7:10 p.m.

No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Kansas State, Saturday, March 19, 8:40 p.m.

No. 3 BYU vs. No. 11 Gonzaga, Saturday, March 19, 7:45 p.m.

No. 2 Florida def. No. 7 UCLA, 73-65; will face BYU/Gonzaga winner


No. 1 Pittsburgh def. No. 16 UNC-Asheville, 74-51

No. 8 Butler def. No. 9 Old Dominion, 60-58

No. 5 Kansas State def. No. 12 Utah State, 73-68

No. 4 Wisconsin def. No. 13 Belmont, 72-58

No. 11 Gonzaga def. No. 6 St. John's, 86-71

No. 3 BYU def. No. 14 Wofford, 74-66

No. 7 UCLA def. No. 10 Michigan State, 78-76

No. 2 Florida def. No. 15 UC-Santa Barbara, 79-51

March Madness resources: Printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket ... Full 2011 NCAA Tournament schedule.


NCAA Tournament Scores: Florida Leads UCLA 35-33 At Halftime

Through one half of the 2011 NCAA Tournament's first rematch of a previous NCAA Tournament final, Florida leads UCLA 35-33.

The Gators have shot very well so far, making 14 of 25 shots for a sterling 56.8% mark from the field. But the three-pointers haven't been falling at the same clip — Kenny Boynton has two, Erving Walker one — which has meant that Florida has needed to go inside for scoring. They've gotten that from Chandler Parsons (six points), and also from reserve big men Patric Young and Erik Murphy, who have combined for eight points. Young, in particular, had a nice sequence as a spark, getting a big left-handed block and a steal leading to a dunk on the defensive end in consecutive possessions.

For the Bruins, getting away from a blueprint that had them up early hasn't limited their ability to hang with Florida. Joshua Smith scored UCLA's first six points, then didn't score again in the first half; Reeves Nelson had eight points to lead the Bruins, and UCLA made its bones inside and at the free throw line, shooting 15 charity stripe shots in the first half. Florida's defense has limited the Bruins to just over 40% shooting, but that poor shooting has been compensated for at the foul line.

And the bruising Bruins have been excellent on the boards, outrebounding Florida 20-10 and conceding zero offensive rebounds to the Gators.


NCAA Bracket 2011: No. 2 Florida Vs. No. 7 UCLA

In the 2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket, rematches abound after the Second Round, and Third Round matchup Florida vs. UCLA in the Southeast Region is a callback to highlights of NCAA Tournaments from the mid-'00s. It's also the last game from Tampa on the 2011 NCAA Tournament schedule; Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel will call the game, which tips at approximately 2:45 p.m. Eastern. David Aldrige will be the sideline reporter.

Florida answered any concerns about its No. 2 seed with a 79-51 demolition of UC Santa Barbara in its Second Round game. The Gators got contributions from virtually every corner against the Gauchos: all five starters scored at least eight points, and walk-on Kyle McClanahan played in garbage time late in the second half, scoring four points. Chandler Parsons had a career-high 10 assists to go with 10 points and seven rebounds, and likely would have recorded his first career triple-double if he had not be subbed out early in the second half. So the Gators enter their Third Round matchup clicking, and also have some good memories of NCAA Tournament games against UCLA: in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, Florida defeated UCLA in the NCAA Tournament final and the Final Four, respectively, on its way to two consecutive national championships. If Parsons, Alex Tyus, and Vernon Macklin can handle the Bruins' Joshua Smith down low, expect Billy Donovan's squad to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

Ben Howland's Bruins, on the other hand, nearly let a historic collapse happen against Michigan State. After leading by 26 with 8:36 to go, the Bruins went ice-cold down the stretch, hemorrhaging possessions and allowing the Spartans to turn a rout into a near-miracle. That nearly ruined a game effort from UCLA's starters, four of whom chipped in 12 or more points. Tyler Honeycutt, especially, was excellent, scoring 16 points and recording six rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. And the Bruins nearly gave the game away at the free throw line: UCLA shot just 63.8% from the charity stripe, missing 17 freebies. It's unlikely the Bruins will get to the line 47 times against Florida, much less build a 26-point lead, but if they can clean up issues that contributed to their scare against the Spartans, UCLA has a shot at pulling the upset.

Star Watch: Joshua Smith is UCLA's biggest mismatch against Florida. The 6'10", 300-pound freshman has a huge size advantage on Tyus and Macklin, the Gators' two starting forwards, and could abuse them repeatedly if Florida cannot or does not double him effectively.

Prediction: Florida builds on the momentum generated by its Second Round snoozer and races out early against UCLA, then weathers a second half comeback by the Bruins for a 77-70 win.

More Reading: SB Nation's Florida blog Alligator Army is your Gators fan community, while our UCLA blog, Bruins Nation, has plenty more on the bears in powder blue.

Need help picking your bracket? Check out SB Nation's full 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions, picking every game of March Madness, or our region by region breakdowns for the East Region, West Region, Southeast Region, and Southwest Region.

Did your team miss the 2011 NCAA Tournament? We have you covered: check out the 2011 NIT bracket.

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