Found March 24, 2012 on Fox Sports Arizona:
PHOENIX Florida was hoping for some dj vu, circa 2006. Instead, the Gators got the 2011 version -- the version nobody wanted. Just as they did last season against Butler in the Elite Eight, the Gators built a comfortable lead Saturday against Louisville, then went stone cold in the game's home stretch. Florida managed just three points in the final eight minutes and 16 seconds as Louisville rallied from an 11-point, second-half deficit to stun the Gators, 72-68, and advance the Final Four in New Orleans. "It feels terrible," guard Erving Walker said. "We had a lead. We just didn't make shots and we didn't defend well." All of Friday, Florida talked of the lessons learned from last season's crushing defeat to Butler. All week, the Gators talked about playing 40 minutes of basketball. Unlike last year, the effort was there on loose balls and hustle plays. But the weapon that gave Florida its comfortable lead was suddenly and decidedly blunted in the second half when the Gators missed all nine 3-point attempts after hitting eight of 11 in the first half. "We forced them in the second half to play a lot of man-to-man. They played switching man-to-man to take away the three," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I don't know that we did a great job offensively of really taking advantage of what was open. I thought we stood around too much. I thought we over-handled (the ball). "We allowed them to dwindle the lead." Almost everything was working for the Gators in the first half. They shot 66.7 percent from the floor. Every one of their starters shot at least 50 percent and Louisville point guard Peyton Siva was forced to take a seat at the 6:45 mark with his second foul, allowing the Gators to close the half on a 19-12 run. Donovan hoped the Gators would pull Louisville out of its matchup zone to defend the arc. That's exactly what he got in the second half. He also got two more quick fouls on Siva with 10:58 to play (he fouled out with 3:58 to go). Siva had killed the Gators with dribble penetration and eight assists. Without him, the win was in the bag. "For 32 minutes they outplayed us," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said of Donovan's Gators. "He did such a masterful job of coaching me." But the Gators couldn't close the deal, missing their final 10 shots, missing three free throws and committing two costly turnovers in the game's final eight minutes. Freshman guard Bradley Beal grabbed a rebound with 18 seconds left and the Gators trailing by one, but he was whistled for traveling, allowing Louisville to tack on two free throws after a foul, and withstand two looks at game-tying threes from Kenny Boynton and Walker. Florida fans howled for a foul when it appeared Beal was bumped on the rebound, but the freshman wouldn't take the bait. "I just had bad footing," he said. "I traveled. He may have bumped me but whatever. I just need to be stronger and learn my surroundings and be more careful in those situations." The win gave Pitino a 7-0 mark against his former pupil and assistant, Donovan. "If someone said to me 'you have to lose a game. Who would it be to?' I would say him," Donovan said. "I've never said this publicly but I'll say it here. I'm actually shocked he's not in the hall of fame. Shocked. It should have happened a long time ago. "I don't think there's a coach in the country who's done more with less and believe me, I was on a team (Providence) with a lot less." For most of Saturday's game, Florida appeared to have more than enough to handle the Cardinals, but the Gators left Phoenix with sickeningly familiar feeling. "It was a great run. A lot of teams didn't think we could make it this far," said Beal who wouldn't comment on the possibility of leaving for the NBA after one season at Florida. "I'm still affected by this loss. I'm just going to focus on and bond with the team. We just had a real tough loss. I don't even want to think about the future right now."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Gators blow 11-point lead in 72-68 loss to Cards

Bradley Beal and Erik Murphy scored 14 points each, but Florida squandered an 11-point lead in the second half to lose 72-68 in the West Regional on Saturday and keep coach Billy Donovan winless against his mentor. Donovan hadn't beaten Louisville coach Rick Pitino in six previous tries, but appeared to be headed toward a breakthrough win after the Gators hit eight 3-pointers...

Louisville – Florida: Let’s Talk Numbers

The Gators have been scoring a whole lot of points here lately and have made more three pointers than any other team in the country this year. I don’t think Florida has that one player that can beat you, but they have three of four very solid guys. As good as they’ve looked on offense this season, I’m anxious to see how they’ll look against Louisville’s defense.

Walker and Beal Talk After Loss

The Florida Gators were hot in the first half as they blistered Louisville’s zone defense, but a change on defense in the second half saw the Cardinals whittle away a 12 point lead and eventually beat the underdog Gators in Phoenix for the right to play in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. It was a tough emotional loss for the Gators who talked to the media after the game...

Gators Continue to Dominate Sunshine State

The Florida Gators continue to roll on as they have added yet another player for the class of 2013. This time the Gators went to the offensive side of the ball for offensive linemen Roderick Johnson.

Patric Young takes an alley oop from Erving Walker

That is Erving Walker throwing an alley oop to Florida’s own man beast Patric Young. This all took place during the Elite Eight when the Louisville Cardinals took on the Florida Gators. Old mentor Rick Pitino versus student Billy Donovan.

Players Talk About Louisville & Elite Eight

The Florida Gators five starters spent over 20 minutes in front of the national media in Phoenix on Friday. The big game looming in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against Louisville poses some big questions for the Gators as they look to better their Elite Eight finih a year ago. Here is the video and written transcript of the media session.

2012 NFL Draft: Five Small-School Sensations To Watch

1) CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama     Following his three years as a starter for Florida, Jenkins transferred to North Alabama after multiple run-ins with both the law and his coaches.  Even though the competition was not comparable, Jenkins kept himself in the top three or four as his position.  He is a natural cover corner with good instincts and exceptional quick-twitch...

2012 Gamecocks Baseball Field Report: Florida Edition

South Carolina beat Florida in the opening game 9-3 and then lost the next two 8-2 and 5-4. Breaking it Down...Michael Roth and Hudson Randall took the hill on Thursday night for a showcase of two of the best pitchers in college baseball for a national audience on ESPNU.  When they each left the game, the score was knotted at 2.  Randall made it into the 6th; Roth made it into...

Erving Walker alley oop to Patric Young

Louisville vs Florida, 2nd half.

Donovan Post Game Presser

It was a tough fought mentally tough game for both sides and the Florida Gators came out just a bit short. For the second year in a row Billy Donovan has seen his team come up seconds shy of making it to the Final Four, but he thought this team was a little more prepared to get there in the end. The 72-68 loss was hard on him and his team but he talked to the media after the game about it.

Video: Players Talk Spring Practice

The Gators offense is in transition under new offensive coordinator Brent Pease, and the players are getting their first taste of it out at Spring practice. Get the latest on Pease's style and find out what the defense is focused on here.

Florida Gators vs. Louisville Cardinals in Elite Eight

Lowest seed left, Florida, looking to upend Louisville.

2014 WR Talks UF Offer & Visit

It’s quite early in the recruiting process for 2014 Demarre Kitt, but it’s pretty much already blowing up. The wide receiver from Sandy Creek HS (Tyrone, GA) already has ten offers, his most recent on coming from the Florida Gators.

Inside the boxscore: Louisville 72, Florida 68

1. For the 16th time this season, Florida made at least 40% 3-pointers (8-20 for the game). But all 8 of the makes came in the first half (on 11 attempts). In the 2nd half the Gators shot 0-9 from beyond the arc. Kenny Boyton missed all four of his attempts in the 2nd half, Erving Walker missed three, and Bradley Beal missed two. 2. Against Louisville's pressure defense the...
College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.