Charles Kane (Twitter: @ckane02)
Florida guard Mike Rosario led the Gators to the NCAA tournament round of 16 for the third consecutive year with a career-high 25 points.
Just two days after playing a season-low 15 minutes Rosario started scorching hot in the first half. At one point he was tied with Minnesota at 15 points apiece. Rosario’s 15 minutes Friday night were eight less than his previous season-low of 23. Sunday night he finished with 34 minutes, 25 points, six three-pointers and two steals.
No. 3 seed Florida beat No. 11 seed Minnesota 78-64 as the Gophers failed to overcome a 21-point deficit at halftime. The Gators did not make it easy on themselves.
Erik Murphy scored 15 points in the first half on 5-7 shooting. He did not attempt a field goal in the second half as he dealt with foul trouble throughout. Sunday night marked the third time Murphy had fouled out this season.
Murphy, Patric Young, Kenny Boynton and Casey Prather combined for just five second half points. Young did not score a field goal in a game for the first time in almost two years. The last time that happened was against Butler in the Elite Eight game on March 26, 2011.
Minnesota turned a 13-2 run into a 19-5 run and brought Florida’s lead to single digits. This came in large part to sophomore guard Andre Hollins. He began the game shooting 7-8 before making just one of his next five. Hollins tied a career-high with six three-pointer. At the 9:21 mark he picked up his fourth foul and the game settled down from there. From the 9:45 mark to the 2:57 mark in the second half Minnesota did not make a field goal.
Despite scoring just three field goals and turning the ball over five times in the opening eight minutes of the second half the Gators managed to pull away once again.
Scottie Wilbekin finished with 12 points (10 in the second half) and six assists. Yeguete scored seven points, all in the second half.
All of Florida’s 28 wins this season have been by double digits. The Gators are now 20-0 when scoring 70 points or more this season.
Florida’s next game is Friday night at 9:57 p.m. against No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast.
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