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