No big upset this time. Kenny Boynton and Florida were just too good for surprising Norfolk State. Norfolk State shook up the West Regional when it upset No. 2 seed Missouri 86-84 on Friday, and was trying to become the first 15 seed to reach the round of 16.
Florida put a quick end to that idea, making five 3-pointers during a 25-0 run that made it 29-6 midway through the first half.
The seventh-seeded Gators (25-10) have made it to the regional semifinals six times in 12 NCAA tournament appearances under coach Billy Donovan. They will play No. 3 seed Marquette on Thursday in Phoenix after their second straight runaway win.
Florida was 4 for 23 from beyond the arc in its tourney opener, but still managed to beat Virginia 71-45. It rediscovered its shooting touch early against Norfolk State (26-10), making five of its first eight 3-point attempts and 10 of 28 for the game.
Erving Walker finished with 15 points for the Gators. Bradley Beal scored 14, Mike Rosario had 12 and Erik Murphy 10.
Besides shooting better than they had on Friday, Florida also played better defense, holding Norfolk State to 27% shooting and 4 of 24 from three point range.
Boynton, who had made just 4 of his previous 21 3s, hit from long distance to start Florida’s decisive run. The big surge featured the frenetic temp that Florida enjoys. The Spartans missed 10 shots in a row, and each time the smaller Gators got the rebound, they pushed the ball quickly up the floor.
Erik Murphy hit back-to-back 3s, Bradley made one and Beal tipped in Scottie Wilbekin’s missed 3 before Norfolk State ended a field-goal drought that lasted more than 7 minutes.
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