Final Four Fastbreak: (7) UConn Huskies end (1) Florida Gators magical season with thud

The historic season put together by the (1) Florida Gators (36-3) ended with a thud on Saturday evening at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX as the (7) UConn Huskies (31-8) responded from early adversity to dominate the No. 1 overall seed for the majority of the contest and eliminate Florida in the Final Four round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament with a stunning 63-53 victory.

The Gators saw their 30-game winning streak, the 10th longest in college basketball history, snapped as they ended their season short of a national title for the seventh-straight season. It was head coach Billy Donovan‘s first ever loss in the semifinal round.

OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: A personal 6-2 run by senior center Patric Young got Florida within six points with four minutes to play, but two free throws made by Shabazz Napier put UConn back up eight and kick-started an 8-2 run that gave it a 12-point lead with 1:46 to play. It was never close again.

Prominent players: Young came up big for the Gators, especially in the second half, and finished with a team-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. For the Huskies, DeAndre Daniels was outstanding, hitting 9-of-14 attempts for a game-high 20 points with a game-high 10 boards as well. Young added five rebounds and a block to his line.

Disappearing act: Known as Florida’s closer most of the season, senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin was a non-factor – and at times a detriment – for the Gators on Saturday. He went 2-for-9 from the field, missed three attempts from beyond the arc, only dished one assist, gave up three turnovers and committed four fouls. It was his worst performance of the season and just the second time this year he scored fewer than seven points in a game.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.

Significant stretch: Florida trailed the entire second half but was down just three with eight minutes remaining. UConn responded with an 8-1 scoring stretch to re-take a 10-point lead with 5:37 to play and eventually extended their advantage to 12. It was a season-high deficit for UF, which was simply unable to fully recover.

First half focus: Florida opened up the game on a 7-0 run and stretched its advantage to 16-4 as UConn could only manage to score four points at the midway point of the opening 20 minutes. The 12 points was underdog’s largest deficit of the tournament. The Huskies responded with an 11-0 run – including three triples, two from Daniels – and a 21-6 stretch of their own to take a 25-22 lead at the half. UF went on a 5:05 scoreless drought during the big run – which completely negated its tremendous opening 10 minutes – and only made two baskets over the final 9:48 of the first half.

Perfect play: On one of the final possessions of the game, Young laid his entire body out to try and grab a rebound but was ultimately unsuccessful. Nevertheless, it was a paradigm of his play throughout the game and the Gators’ effort all season long.

Standout stats: Florida had just three assists on 19 made baskets, failing to adequately move the ball or get anything going offensively. UF went 34:34 without recording an assist in the game. The Gators shot 19-for-49 overall (.388) and went 1-for-10 from beyond the arc, missing nine-straight threes to end the game after sophomore guard Michael Frazier II made one 10 seconds into the contest.

What it means: Florida played its worst game of the season in its last game of the season for the second-straight year. The Gators got completely outworked by a motivated Huskies team that played better on both ends of the court and simply proved to be a deserving finalist (2-0 over UF this season).

Next up: Young, Wilbekin and senior forwards Casey Prather and Will Yegeute each played their last game in a Florida uniform. The Gators will also wait to hear what freshman F Chris Walker chooses to do at season’s end – either turn pro or return for his sophomore season. Prather scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting with six boards, and Yeguete was 0-for-2 with two points (via free throws) and three rebounds.

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16 Responses to “Final Four Fastbreak: (7) UConn Huskies end (1) Florida Gators magical season with thud”

  1. Gatoralum88 says:

    Oh well! That’s how that cookie crumbles! It’s surprising to me how our POY was unable to do ANYTHING. Horrible game for him (4 points, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls). Likewise for Frazier (opening 3…invisible otherwise). As a team, 3 assists, 1 three TOTAL!…really disappointing. Their guards took Billy’s guards to school (forcing 8 of their 11 turnovers). Still, it’s been a record-breaking, banner season & was an enjoyable ride! They more than made up for Muschamp’s debacle. Go Gators!!!

  2. Ziggy says:

    Unfortunately, we were playing for Final Four and didn’t even know it.

  3. SW FL Joe says:

    Talent>>>Chemistry. At least we won’t be suffering the embarrassment of losing to UK in the finals

    • Ken (CA) says:

      seriously? that is your take away from this? A team we beat 3 times in the same season who even if we lost to, beating LV, KSU, WSU, and to get there Wisc would be an embarrassment? Wow…just wow…

  4. uf_84 says:

    Congrats to Uconn they were the better team tonight.

    Just want to say thank you to Will, Scottie, Patric, and Casey for such a great season. You guys put spirit and life back into Gator nation after such a miserable football season and I am one Gator alumnus who is very thankful. We fell a little short of the ultimate goal but that takes nothing away from all you guys have accomplished. Go Gators!!

  5. Gatoralum88 says:

    If they NEVER play their again it’ll be too soon. They can’t seem to get their mojo on that court.

  6. brian says:

    Adam, i appreciate the fact that you are a GATOR and can report it like it is….thanks for your GREAT coverage of GATOR sports bro….you do it right, IN ALL KINDS of WEATHER….Go Gators!

  7. Daniel M. says:

    Wilbekin was not physically 100%. At least that’s the way it looked to me.

    Unbelievably disappointing end. I’m usually disappointed for Gator sports, the program, when this happens. Tonight I just feel awful for each of those guys, including Billy.

    It was an incredible ride and I enjoyed almost every minute of it. Thanks for that amazing season Gator Boyz. Keep your heads up.

  8. Ken (CA) says:

    What a shame, worst game they have played all year. They never played as a team on Offense, and Wilbekin chose to be like Walker/Boynton, forcing the game, not distributing. Yeguette taking a 3 early in the shot clock, or at all, seriously?

    This game is one of the worst reffed gamed saw in a long time, UConn had clear 10 second violation early clock was at 23 when got over, not even to mention the over and back just a little later that was ignored, but the violation led to a UF foul and eventually 2 for UConn. Not that the refs were biased, though, they sucked for UConn as well. Didn’t decide the game, what did was not moving and playing the offensive pick and roll rotations had played all year, even with 2/3 UConn big men in major foul trouble and Napier not being a factor.

    These ids did a great job and should be proud of everything they accomplished, but I would rather we had lost because they were better rather than because we played one of our worst games of the season.

    As far as team-oriented coverage, UConn had 2/3 announcers ex UConn, UF had folks few ever heard of, and other than sideline interviews with ex-UF players, the announcers kept talking about how awesome Napier was and propping UConn. Very lame.

  9. Ken (CA) says:

    I also have to say that with 45 seconds left, even down 10, UConnas reputed a great foul shooting team as they are, hadn’t shot well all game, and really surprised Billy D decided to give up and not extend the game…

  10. Sharon Milner says:

    Don’t know why the team played so poorly with a total lack of inspiration besides young.
    Thanks for a great season Gators.

    Sad ending.

  11. gatorboi352 says:

    Anyone questioning what it means that Florida is a football school and not a basketball school need to look no further than Gator fans reaction after this loss, and compare it to any WIN during the 2009 and 2012 football seasons.

    Every comment after every WIN on every site imaginable during those seasons that built up great expectations was complaint after complaint after complaint.

    This basketball loss? Nothing but compliments and “atta boys”!

    Don’t misunderstand me: what I’m saying is there is a CLEAR distinction of expectations among Gator faithful in regards to football vs. basketball.

    As for this game? I feel sorry for those seniors, but man what a time to play their worst game of the year…. for the 3rd year in a row. And now an 18-0 SEC champion gets to watch a team they beat 3 tims with an 11-7 SEC record go and play for the title because they got hot at the right time.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      And before anyone says it: YES I am one of the most critical people on this site of our current football program.

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