Returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons, the No. 10-seed Florida Gators had two chances to put away the No. 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars. Alas, the Gators failed on both occasions, leading the game to enter a second overtime and the Cougars to an eventual 99-92 victory in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, OK.
BYU star guard Jimmer Fredette led his team with 37 points on 50 percent shooting, while Michael Loyd, Jr. came off the bench for the Cougars with a career-high 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting in a surprising turn of events. Florida freshman guard Kenny Boynton posted a career-high 26 points of his own, hitting 8-of-17 shots from the field and 5-of-10 from downtown. Unfortunately for the Gators, Boynton fouled out with 3:57 remaining in the second overtime, removing the team’s most dynamic player from the court in the waning minutes.
Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida vs. BYU NCAA Tournament story after the jump!
Up a game-high seven points on a fastbreak layup from freshman forward Erik Murphy in the first half, Florida looked to have control of the game early. BYU then exploded on a 14-2 run with 10 straight points from Loyd to take a 35-30 lead. Three free throws by Boynton were followed by a missed three at the buzzer by Parsons as the Gators trailed by two going into halftime.
Florida returned from the locker rooms with four straight turnovers, allowing the Cougars to complete a 10-0 run to get out to a game-high 13-point lead, 59-46. The Gators were quick to answer back as Boynton caught fire. With his team down eight, the freshman scored 14 straight points and three consecutive treys to give Florida a 63-60 lead with 5:53 left on the clock.
A hook shot by redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin (16 points, seven rebounds) tied it up at 68 with 3:27 remaining, but a quick three by Boynton would put UF on top 71-68. Junior forward Chandler Parsons (20 points, 10 boards) traded threes with BYU guard Jackson Emery as a foul on Macklin put the Gators back in the lead 75-73. Fredette responded by driving the lane and hitting a spectacular left-handed layup to tie it up at 75. Florida called a timeout with 18.8 seconds remaining, but Parsons missed a turnaround jumper as the buzzer sounded – forcing overtime.
In the first extra period, Loyd hit four clutch free throws to eliminate a 4-0 run by the Gators and tie the game at 79. Parsons and Loyd each scored a layup before senior forward Dan Werner missed a shot from the corner with time running down. Luckily for Florida, Boynton stole the ball back at halfcourt with 19.4 seconds left and another timeout was called by the bench. After taking the ball out, the Gators let the clock run down with Boynton throwing up an off-balance double-teamed three to move on to a second overtime.
Loyd continued his stellar play with a three to open the period. Boynton fouled out on the next possession after choosing to prevent Fredette from getting an easy layup. Fredette would regroup, hitting back-to-back treys to give his team a 93-86 lead with 1:20 to play; BYU would hold on from there, outscoring Florida 18-11 in the second overtime.
In the end, turnovers and missed opportunities (two game-winning shots) doomed the Gators. Florida played sloppy most of the game, giving up the ball 22 times to Brigham Young compared with 12 turnovers in the other direction.
The Gators’ loss also closed the career of Werner, who finished with four points and five rebounds on the day. BYU will move on to face the winner of the No. 2 Kansas State Wildcats vs. No. 15 North Texas Mean Green game, set to tip-off at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
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