Fastbreak: (1) Florida outclasses (9) Pittsburgh 61-45; Gators advance to fourth-straight Sweet 16

By Adam Silverstein
March 22, 2014

The (1) Florida Gators (34-2) got back to their dominant ways on Saturday afternoon, outclassing the (9) Pittsburgh Panthers (26-10) in the 2014 NCAA Tournament Round of 32 at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL. The Gators advanced to their fourth-straight Sweet 16 with a 61-45 victory over the Panthers. breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: Florida was already leading by 10 with 90 seconds left to play when senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin attacked the hoop and finished an up-and-under layup to vault the Gators ahead by 12 points. Wilbekin was responsible for 13 of Florida’s 15 points in a span of 6:51 at one point during the second half with the aforementioned layup the last of eight-straight points he scored for UF.

Prominent player: Wilbekin scored a team-high 21 points for the Gators despite struggling throughout almost the entire first half. He posted 16 points in the final 20:01 of the game and was the main reason that Florida was able to pull away for a decisive victory. He was 9-for-15 from the field and also grabbed three boards, dished two assists and swiped a pair of steals.

Significant stretch: Florida pieced together a 7-0 run early in the second half to jump up 10 points after going toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh for nearly the entire first 20 minutes of the game. The Gators never trailed again and maintained their advantage over the duration of the contest, leading by double-digits most of the time.

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

First half focus: Down 13-10 midway through the first half, Florida went off on a 10-2 run – including two triples by sophomore guard Michael Frazier II and two steals from freshman point guard Kasey Hill to lead 20-15. Pittsburgh cut its deficit down to two points 10 seconds to play, but Wilekin pushed UF ahead by five at the break by draining a buzzer-beating, floating three-pointer to conclude the half. Frazier was UF’s only other double-digit scorer, posting 10 points despite going just 2-for-9 from downtown.

Perfect plays: Following a missed Frazier three, Wilbekin scrambled for an offensive rebound out past halfcourt. Once he recovered it, a quick toss to senior forward Casey Prather became an exciting alley-oop to senior center Patric Young, who slammed the ball home with gusto to push the Gators ahead 10 with 16 minutes to play. Four minutes later, senior F Will Yeguete knocked a ball away, chased it down to the sideline and fought off a defender to scoop it up before it fell out. He immediately tossed the ball behind his back to a streaking Prather, who finished with an uncontested jam.

Prather scored eight points, adding six boards and three steals, while Young was dominant in the post defensively with eight rebounds (six offensive) and four blocks but only went 3-for-11 with seven points. Yeguete was extremely efficient on Saturday, hitting four of his five field goals for eight points with four boards, a steal and a rejection.

Standout stat: Florida was focused on outrebounding Pittsburgh on Saturday while also delivering a stellar defensive effort. The Gators succeeded in that charge by winning the battle on the glass 38-31 with four more offensive boards than the Panthers. UF also had five blocks (four from Young) and only committed seven fouls in 40 minutes.

What it means: The Gators improved to 10-4 in Round of 32 games and advanced to their fourth-consecutive Sweet 16. Florida also increased its winning streak to 28 games with victories in 33 of its last 34 games.

Next up: UF will face either (4) UCLA or (12) Stephen F. Austin in the Sweet 16 on Thursday at a yet-to-be-determined time in Memphis, TN.


  1. Gatoralum88 says:

    All is right in the world again! That’s the team we’re all use to seeing!!! What a game for the Wilbe-BEAST!!!…SEC POY stepping up BIG TIME!!! Ditto for Yeguete! Young was his usual BEASTLY self on D & on the glass! Survive & advance!!!…onward to the Sweet 16!!! Billy putting it best after the game “We played to our identity”. Enough said! Go Gators!!!

    • one says:

      LOL @ ditto for Yeguete. I thought it was, ‘you don’t get squadoosh when you start Yeguete’?

      • Gatoralum88 says:

        Ha! So we got slightly more than squadoosh from Yeguete yesterday. Still, 8 points & 4 rebounds isn’t something I’d write home about. Nevertheless, I’m glad he had the 4th best game on the team yesterday. Believe me, I WANT him to do something rather than nothing in games especially now. Go Gators!

  2. Michael Jones says:

    The thing that gets me about this team is how various players can have off games and yet, with defensive intensity, character, and toughness, we still find a way to win.

    I was hard on Scottie early in the year but he’s been unbelievable in February and March.

    Wow. . can’t believe that we were able to win going away against such a tough opponent. I’m still holding my breath an hour after the game!!

    GO GATORS!!!

    • Ken (CA) says:

      The great thing is how much this team gets that and has bought in to the system, even the seniors who were used to high flying blowouts early on, and they don’t mind grinding it out with stellar defense. Shame Boynton and Walker never got that or we could be looking at Billy on national championship run 4 or 5 rather than 3.

  3. Dave Massey says:

    Florida has lost 3 games, that’s news to me.

  4. Dave Massey says:

    I hope you didn’t jinx us.

  5. Dave Massey says:

    I see you fixed it.

  6. uf_84 says:

    Viva le Yeguete!!!

  7. Sroode21 says:

    Where are all the bandwagon fans that said we were going to lose, and Will was garbage. Oops

  8. TST says:

    Florida picked Pitt a part . If Pitt had to play Scottie 1 more minute i think they may have exploded . Will imo also had a maybe best game of yr . Behind the back pass to running teammate as he fell out of bounds . Beautiful ..Will was also jumping higher , good sign for his knees i hope.
    Defense made Pitt look slow and confused ..Gators were ready for Pitt . Fine Coaching job also . Not a skipped beat whole game against a team the ‘Heads’ said would give our Gators huge problems and maybe even win it …Heads !!! GO GATORS

  9. Ken (CA) says:

    Road just got a lot easier to final 4 with the cuse going down, and MSU for all of its hype looks very beatable if they make it that far. I wouldn’t be surprised to see KU fall as well with Embiid out tomorrow, and possibly for the whole tourney, as he won’t be coming in to play if he hasn’t been able to practice. UCLA game will be very interesting tomorrow. My bracket is pretty much busted for the most part because of upsets that should have happened but didn’t, like NCSU choking, and those that did happen that were quite a shock like tOSU losing, although had them beating cuse today, so ah well, picked them going down just wrong team doing it.

    It has been by far the most entertaining opening weekend I can ever remember in the tourney this year, though, and still have 8 games to go tomorrow and 1 more that could upset tonight

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