Forget Fredette, Tyus proves Gators are elite as Florida tops BYU 83-74 in overtime

By Adam Silverstein
March 24, 2011

Trying to avoid comparisons to a match-up between the same two teams in the opening game of the 2010 NCAA Tournament all week, the Florida Gators found themselves in the same spot they were one year ago – tied with the Brigham Young Cougars at the end of regulation. However, No. 2-seed Florida (29-7) proved they are a more mature and composed team than they were last season, outscoring No. 3-seed BYU (32-5) by nine points in overtime to win the Southeast Regional Semifinal of the 2011 NCAA Tournament 83-74 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, LA on Thursday night.

Senior forward Alex Tyus led the Gators with the best game of his career, scoring 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting to go along with 17 rebounds in an all-around effort that kept Florida in the game and helped them prevail in the end. UF’s guards were relentless on BYU star G Jimmer Fredette, who scored a game-high 32 points but did so on 11-of-29 shooting (3-for-15 from downtown) with six costly turnovers.

The Gators started out hot, hitting eight of their first nine shots from the field to take a 20-10 lead. A trio of three-pointers from Cougars G Jackson Emery kept the score close as Florida missed five-consecutive treys after starting 4-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Fredette, who started out 0-for-6 and was blocked three times in first half, hit his first shot of the game with 6:17 left before the break. As he heated up, BYU took off on a 16-5 run to and jumped ahead 32-30 on UF. With under three minutes to play before halftime, Fredette hit two layups while senior F Chandler Parsons and junior point guard Erving Walker each dropped in a three for the Gators. Walker went to the line for a one-and-one at the end of the half but missed the front end to send the game into halftime tied at 36.

The Gators came out of the break with an 8-0 run to take a 44-39 lead. Fredette quickly responded with five-straight points – including his first trey after starting 0-for-5 from downtown – to bring his team within two with 15:12 remaining. A 6-0 run by the Cougars a few minutes later jumped them ahead 50-49, but Florida answered back with a 12-5 scoring streak to quickly retake the lead.

Down six, Brigham Young looked to Fredette to get them back in the contest; he answered the call, capping an 8-2 run with a 30-foot three-pointer to tie the game at 63 with 4:59 to play. He would go on to score 32 of his team’s final 47 points in regulation.

UF and BYU traded field goals and free throws from there, and the Gators led by one with under a minute left and the clock winding down.

Suddenly, after a missed triple by Walker, Tyus was called for a questionable over-the-back foul, which sent Cougars F Kyle Collinsworth to the line with a chance for his team to take the lead. Collinsworth proceeded to make his first free throw but missed his second to leave the game tied at 68 and the ball in the Gators’ hands.

UF head coach Billy Donovan immediately called a timeout to draw up a play for sophomore guard Kenny Boynton, who missed a three with 25 seconds left. Walker rushed across the court to get the long rebound, allowing Donovan to call a second timeout and create another play. Parsons got the ball, drove down the right side and missed a short jumper to send the contest into overtime. It was the third time in as many tries that Parsons missed a potential game-winner against BYU in regulation or extra time.

Florida started hot out of the gate in the final five minutes, knocking down four-straight points and concluding the game by outscoring Brigham Young 15-6 in overtime while holding Fredette scoreless.

Three other Gators starters scored in double figures to complement Tyus’s career-best performance. Boynton dropped in 17 points on a relatively poor shooting night (5-of-14 from the floor, 4-of-13 from downtown), though he did hit 3-for-4 from the line and scored five-straight in overtime. Walker and Parsons each finished with 16; Walker added six rebounds and five assists, while Parsons contributed nine boards and seven dimes.

Florida redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, who saw double teams in the post most of the night, was 4-for-5 from the field for nine points with five rebounds.

Fredette did not get much help from his squad offensively as none of his teammates posted double-digit points. Emery and F Noah Hartsock each contributed nine points, but it was Collinsworth came up big for Brigham Young with a team-high 15 boards.

UF was more efficient than BYU overall, hitting a better percentage of their shots both from the floor (.477-.352) and from beyond the arc (.324-.270). However, the Cougars kept it close by making the most of their chances from the charity stripe, connecting on 14-of-16 attempts (87.5 percent) compared to the Gators only hitting on 10-of-22 tries (45.5 percent). Florida outrebounded BYU 42-39, dished 10 more assists (23-13), smacked four more blocks (5-1) and committed seven fewer fouls (12-19).

The teams set a NCAA Tournament record by combining for 71 three-point attempts.

With the victory, the Gators advance from the Sweet 16 to the Elite Eight for the fifth time in school history (1994, 2000, 2006-07). Florida has never in the Elite Eight, advancing to the Final Four on all four occasions.

UF will face No. 8-seed Butler on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The game will air live on CBS.

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

20 Comments

  1. Hink says:

    Until tonight, Tyus was like Brent Wright for me. I understood why Billy kept him on the floor, but he was always good for a random screw-up every game. I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt so good to feel like a fool as I do after Tyus’ performance tonight. What a great moment for a career night. His energy and rebounding were HUGE against BYU – can’t wait for Saturday night.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      tyus has done a tone for the team this year that don’t show up in stats. Just like I have defended Brantley, I will defend him. He gave up a lot of self stats for the team, something Boynton still needs to learn. Worst stat season of his career, but he played well most of the year. He will be in the NBA even if he is a D-league player next year, he is that good, and has learned to be unselfish

  2. John S says:

    Tyus…freaking Tyus takes over the game. Even with the BS fouls they called on him, he put up incredible numbers. He is the MVP of this tournament so far. Boynton also deserves a lot of credit for frustrating Freddette.

    The highlight with Young celebrating after Tyus’ overtime slam was classic. Hell yes fellas…well done.

  3. Jesse C says:

    Adam- Fredette was 3 for 15 from 3 pt land not 3 for 5.

    Good game but we need to clean up the TO’s and make our foul shots to get any further. MVP definitely Tyus with his career night. GO Gators.

  4. SaraGator says:

    Ha! Suck it to all the talking heads who were pissed that Gators got a #2 seed.

    I’m currently watching Butler vs. Wisconsin game. Butler looks scarrrryyy.

    Go, Badgers!

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I would actually rather play Butler than the badgers, but I think UF can handle either, the way we space the court with our ball screens, as great defensively as the badgers are, i dont think they have ever seen that, no one in the Big 10 plays that style

  5. Ken (CA) says:

    Adam, I commented earlier that I think UF has never lost in the elite 8, is that a correct stat? I can’t recall for sure, but I know never lost before Billy, and I dont think Billy ever lost in the elite 8

    • Yes – it is in the article. 4-0. 3-1 in Final Four. 2-1 in NCs.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        ah, my bad, I didn’t read closely enough, thanks for verifying. Looks like will be Butler, I think are a final 4 lock at this point. Most exciting year in past few. These kids really get it now, play totally unselfishly (Boynton still needs some work), and should be solid against Butler. 15-1 odds as of last night on those left, UF 5th highest favorite. If they make it to final 4 and have to play Kansas, will be very interesting against the twins with our height and length. That would bea great game, but I think we are as deep as KU, and more skill, should be a very interesting weekend!

  6. Basshole says:

    I’m glad to see Tyus getting some props for this game. He has been treated like Werner all season but has played really well towards the end of the season. IMO, he was the difference in the last Vandy game and he absolutely was here. I’m glad he stuck around and I think the increase in his play is hand in hand with the Gators runnin like they are.

  7. jay d says:

    It was refreshing to see tyus play well for once and take care of the ball….hopefully this is a trend that will span the rest of the tourney…the gators win a couple big games in the ncaa tourney and all of a sudden we are contenders…let’s get real…this gator squad getting past the final 4 would be nothing short of a miracle….we have shaky down low post play and we have been living and dieing at the three line…this season is already a major win in my book and anything else is icing on the cake…let’s keep the dream alive boys and keep fighting!

  8. Mr2Bits says:

    I am just glad we don’t have to hear the name Jimmer anymore. One week of that lovefest and I’m about to lose my mind. Now I know why peopled hated UF during the Tebow era.

    Definitely need to clean up the free throw shooting. Was losing hair watching us continue to miss from the charity stripe. The biggest concern I have against BYU is the refs. We are 2 for 2 in having to beat UCLA/BYU and the refs, hopefully we just have to face Butler.

  9. cline says:

    Let’s go Gators! Lots more left on the table for us.

    Adam,

    I like the in story picture links. good feature.

  10. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    The Tyus haters on here definitely have some crow to eat…has Tyus had some struggles…sure and it’s hard to understand how he seemed to play better when out of position but who knows…..this team has a lot of solid and flexible parts and Billy is moving the right levers for sure….Young was really quiet last night and we still won…..one thing is for sure these guys are all playing hard and are not worried who gets the shots or the glory as long as the team gets the W….Butler is a solid team but they don’t really pose any match up problems….they are well coached that’s for sure but I like our chances

  11. npgator says:

    Tyus is the most athletic player we have and he showed it last night.

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