Gators Hang Tough, Put Away UCLA Late
In a match that seemed more like a fight than a basketball game, the Florida Gators prevailed over the UCLA Bruins in the NCAA tournament, winning 73-65.
Two days after blowing out another UC school, the UCSB Gauchos, the Gators got a big challenge from a big school.
UCLA got great games from forward Reeves Nelson (16 points, 11 rebounds) and 300-pound center Joshua Smith (16 points, six rebounds).
But the physical Bruins were not good enough to stop the 5'8" Erving Walker, who led the Gators with 21 points, including some highlights reel plays down the stretch.
Late in the second half, a driving Walker ran into UCLA's Smith and, while falling to the floor, put up a prayer shot that banked in.
And the biggest play of the game came when Walker made an athletic catch of a Scottie Wilbekin inbounds pass, broke away from his defender, and drilled a three-pointer.
Other major contributors for Florida were Kenny Boynton (12 points, five assists), Patric Young (eight points, four rebounds, two blocks), and Alex Tyus (eight points, 13 rebounds).
The Gators advance to the Sweet 16, facing the winner of tonight's Brigham Young-Gonzaga game on Thursday.
Here is the postgame press conference featuring head coach Billy Donovan, Alex Tyus, Chandler Parsons, and Erving Walker (courtesy of Gator Vision Online).