Game 37 - Cougars vs. Gators in Sweet 16

Last season, BYU defeated Florida 99-92 in double overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

Cougars to Face Florida in Sweet 16

After defeating Wofford and Gonzaga in the second and third rounds of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, No. 3-seed BYU will take on No. 2-seed Florida in the Southeast Regional Semifinals on Thursday, March 21, at 6:27 p.m. CT in the New Orleans Arena. The game is a rematch of last season’s first round matchup that saw the No. 7-seed Cougars defeat the No. 10-seed Gators 99-92 in double overtime. The Cougars are making their first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 1981. BYU finished the 2010-11 regular season as co-champions of the Mountain West Conference and is currently 32-4 overall, a program record for wins in a season. Jimmer Fredette scored 32 points and had seven assists in BYU’s 74-66 second round-win against No. 14-seed Wofford. Against Gonzaga, Fredette posted 34 points and six assists while Jackson Emery added 16 points, four assists and three steals. Fredette currently leads the nation in scoring at 28.8 points per game, has been named to several All-America teams and is a finalist for the Naismith Award. Jackson Emery was the MWC Defensive Player of the Year and averages 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.8 steals for the Cougars. Florida advanced to the Regional Semifinals of the NCAA Tournament with a 73-65 win over No. 7-seed UCLA on Saturday. Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton lead the Gators in scoring at 14.7 and 14.0 points per game, respectively. Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin add 11.4 and 11.3 points per game, respectively. Thursday’s game can be heard live on KSL Newsradio beginning with the pregame show at 5:30 p.m. CT on 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City. The game will be televised live on TBS with Gus Johnson, Len Elmore and Reggie Miller on the call and Marty Snider reporting courtside.

Up Next

The winner of No. 3 BYU vs. No. 2 Florida will advance to the Southeast Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament at the New Orleans Arena vs. the winner of No. 8 Butler and No. 4 Wisconsin.

Cougar Quick Hits

— No. 10/12-ranked BYU head coach and MWC Co-Coach of the Year Dave Rose is 159-44 in his six seasons at BYU and is the program’s all-time leader in winning percentage at .783. He is second all-time in wins behind Stan Watts, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Rose has been named MWC Coach of the Year a league record three times and has won four regular season titles, also a conference record. Rose was also named the USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year.

— MWC Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette leads the nation in scoring at 28.8 points per game and adds 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Fredette also earned All-MWC First Team honors, has been named a USBWA All-American and a Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year Award Finalist.

— MWC Defensive Player of the Year Jackson Emery leads the MWC in steals at 2.8 per game and adds 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Emery was named second-team All-MWC and to the All-Defensive Team and earned All-District honors from the USBWA and the NABC.

Noah Hartsock adds 8.6 points per game on .504 shooting from the field and .446 shooting from three. Charles Abouo adds 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

— Brandon Davies received All-MWC Third Team honors and Hartsock was named honorable mention.

— At 32-4, BYU has the best 36-game record in program history and the most wins in a season in school history. The .889 winning percentage is also a school record.

Southeast Region Bracket in New Orleans - New Orleans Arena

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Regional Semifinals Game 1 - 6:27 p.m. CT on TBS

No. 3 BYU (32-4) vs. No. 2 Florida (28-7)

Regional Semifinals Game 2 - 8:57 p.m. CT on TBS

No. 8 Butler (25-9) vs. No. 4 Wisconsin (25-8)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Regional Final - TBA

Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner

Cougars in the NCAA Tournament

— This season marks BYU’s 26th NCAA Tournament appearance in the program’s history. The Cougars have a 14-28 record in the NCAA Tournament.

— With an 89-67 win over Gonzaga in the third round, BYU advanced to the Regional Semifinals for the first time since 1981.

— This season marked BYU’s second NCAA Tournament appearance in Denver. In 2004 the Cougars were a No. 12 seed and lost to No. 5 seed Syracuse 80-75. This season marks BYU’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in New Orleans.

— BYU has gone to the NCAA Tournament eight out of the last 11 seasons (2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). BYU has earned a postseason tournament invite in 11 of the last 12 years (NIT in 2000, 2002, 2006).

— By earning a No. 3 seed in 2011, the Cougars matched their best seed in program history. BYU was also a No. 3 seed in 1980. BYU was a No. 4 seed in 1988. Other single-digit seeds included being a No. 5 seed in 1979, a No. 6 seed in 1981 (the year the Cougars advanced to the Elite Eight), a No. 7 seed in 1993 and 2010, and No. 8 seeds in 1984, 1995, 2007, 2008 and 2009. BYU has been a No. 12 seed in 2001, 2003 and 2004.

— BYU’s 99-92 win over Florida in double overtime in 2010 was the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 1993 when the No. 7 seed Cougars defeated SMU, 80-71, in Chicago. BYU lost to No. 2-seed Kansas, 90-76, in the second round that year.

— BYU is 9-17 in its opening round games in NCAA Tournament play.

— BYU has won two games in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1981 when the Cougars (as a No. 6 seed), defeated Princeton, 60-51 before upsetting No. 3-seed UCLA 78-55. BYU went on to defeat No. 2-seed Notre Dame on Danny Ainge’s last-second, length-of-the-court dash, 51-50, to advance to the Regional Finals before losing to Ralph Sampson and No. 1-seed Virginia, 74-60.

— Current Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 3-4 all-time in NCAA Tournament play. Legendary BYU coach Stan Watts has the most NCAA Tournament wins with a 4-10 record in seven appearances followed by Frank Arnold (3-3 in three appearances), Ladell Andersen (2-3 in three appearances), Roger Reid (2-5 in five appearances) and Steve Cleveland (0-3 in three appearances).

— BYU head coach Dave Rose played in the NCAA Championship game for Houston’s “Phi Slamma Jamma” team that lost to North Carolina State at the final buzzer in 1983. BYU associate head coach Dave Rice was a member of UNLV’s 1990 National Championship and 1991 Final Four teams that won a school record 45-consecutive games.

— Dating back to 2010, BYU has won three of its last four NCAA Tournament games.

Looking at Florida

2010-11 Record: 28-7, 13-3

Conference: Southeastern

Highlights:

- Florida has advanced to the Southeast Regional Semifinals with wins over No. 15-seed UC Santa Barbara (79-51) and No. 7-seed UCLA (73-65). Prior to the NCAA Tournament, The Gators advanced to the SEC Tournament tile game where they fell 70-54 to Kentucky. Florida finished the regular season first in the SEC Eastern Division standings.

- Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton lead the Gators in scoring at 14.7 and 14.0 points per game, respectively. Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin add 11.4 and 11.3 points per game, respectively. Parsons leads the team in rebounding (7.7 boards per game) and assists (3.7 assists per game) while Walker adds 3.3 assists per game.

Coach: Billy Donovan (15th season at Florida)

Florida’s Last Outing — Florida Defeats UCLA to Advance

TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Erving Walker backpedaled toward midcourt, jumped as high as he could and pulled the inbound pass away from Malcolm Lee’s outstretched hands.

Walker dribbled a few times, peaked over his shoulder to see how close Lee was and then launched a 3-pointer.

It felt as good as it looked.

Walker scored 21 points and made several clutch shots down the stretch, none bigger than that 3 with 1:14 remaining, as Florida beat UCLA 73-65 in the NCAA tournament Saturday.

“He came through for us tonight like no other,” teammate Vernon Macklin said.

That might be an understatement.

Walker scored 10 of Florida’s final 12 points. He made four free throws in the final 33 seconds, sinking both ends of 1-and-1s. He made a driving bank shot, a can’t-believe-that-went-in prayer that came after the diminutive point guard—he’s generously listed at 5-foot-8—slammed into the belly of 6-foot-10, 325-pound center Josh Smith.

Walker showed courage, determination and the willingness to put everything on his shoulders after fellow guard Kenny Boynton went down with an ankle injury.

The second-seeded Gators (28-7) needed every bit of it to eliminate the No. 7 seed Bruins (23-11) from the NCAA tournament for the third time in the last six years.

His biggest shot of the season gave Florida a 69-65 lead and forced the Bruins into desperation mode.

UCLA wasted several chances down the stretch, much like it did Thursday against Michigan State. The Bruins survived that one. They had no such luck against Florida, which advanced to the round of 16 in the Southeast region. The Gators will play third-seeded BYU on Thursday in New Orleans.

“It definitely feels good,” Chandler Parsons said. “You know, we’ve worked so hard all year long, and for us to accomplish what we’ve accomplished this year really feels good to get to this point. But like I’ve said before, we’re not satisfied, we want to keep going.”

Boynton finished with 12 points, five assists and ice on his left ankle. He landed awkwardly on Smith’s foot with 4:24 remaining and had to be helped to the locker room. He returned a few minutes later, but was hobbling around the court, so Donovan pulled him.

Series Notes

Thursday’s game will be the fourth meeting between BYU and Florida. The Cougars are 3-0 all-time against the Gators, including last season’s 99-92 double-overtime win in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The first two meetings took place in 1959 (BYU 74, Florida 65 in Provo) and 1991 (BYU 79, Florida 73 in Orlando).

CLICK HERE to see where Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery rank in the BYU and Mountain West Conference record books.

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