Florida advances to the Sweet 16

ORLANDO– In a physical 40-minute battle the Florida Gators (34-2) survived to advance, defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers 61-45.

The focus coming into the game for Florida  was avoiding the lethargy that plagued them in the second round match-up against Albany, and they did so with an energetic beginning to the game. The Panthers fought hard though, not allowing easy buckets and putting constant defensive pressure on the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Florida was able to gain a bit of breathing room in what was a tightly contested first half when guard Scottie Wilbekin hit a running three off of his left foot at the buzzer to give Florida a 27-22 lead heading into the break.

In the second half the Gators began with a furious 7-0 run to begin the half and push their lead to 10 points, it was all the breathing room they’d need  –at one point leading by 14, and cruising to the finish.

The Gators were led in scoring by Wilbekin who scored a game-high 21. Center Patric Young as well as forward Dorian Finney-Smith shared the lead in rebounds with eight boards and in assists three players topped the home half of the box score with two dimes.

Pittsburgh was carried offensively by Talib Zanna who had 10 points; they were also led in the rebounds by Lamar Patterson who had eight. The leader in assists for the Panther was James Robinson who had a game-high six.

Florida will play the winner of the UCLA-Stephen F. Austin game in the Sweet 16, the game will be played in Memphis, TN.

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Richard Johnson
Richard lives in Gainesville and prides himself in being a bonafide lifelong Alachua County Resident. He attends the University of Florida and is in his third year studying Telecommunications. He isn’t sure how he started loving football being the son of two immigrants that don’t care about the sport, but he has developed a borderline unhealthy obsession with it. In his free time, Richard watches other sports and is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Tampa Bay Rays. He doesn’t like chocolate, knows Moe’s is better than Chipotle and drinks way too many Arnold Palmers. He also took up golf in the summer of 2012. That pursuit isn’t going well. You can listen to him talk about sports during the Cheapseats radio show on ESPN 850-WRUF or online at WRUF.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RagjUF.