staff, March 24, 2013

Mike Rosario scored 25 points and Florida used an overpowering first half to roll past Minnesota and into the NCAA tournament round of 16 for third consecutive year with a 78-64 win Sunday in the South Regional.

The No. 3 seed Gators (28-7) shot a blistering 65 percent in the first half and led by 21 by halftime. The win earns Florida a return trip to the Lone Star State to play their next game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Andre Hollins scored 25 points to lead the No. 11-seed Gophers (21-13).


Here's Tom Dienhart's rapid reaction to the game:

Why Minnesota got beat: Minnesota dug itself too big of a hole-21 points at halftime-that it never was able to crawl out of. Florida shot 56 percent overall (21-of-37) and 50 percent from 3-point range (10-of-20). And the Gators shot 36 free throws, making 26; the Gophers were 16-of-22 from the charity stripe. Minnesota also had just four points from its bench.

Key moment: This game was tied, 10-10, at the 14:58 mark. From there, Florida ran away from Minnesota, outscoring the Golden Gophers 38-17 the rest of the half to take a commanding 21-point advantage, 48-27, at intermission. But Minnesota opened the second half on a 19-5 run to make it 53-46, Florida. But the Gophers never could get any closer, as the valiant comeback came up short.

Key player: Andre Hollins did all he could, hitting 8-of-13 shots en route to tallying a team-high 25 points. The sophomore point man was on fire from 3-point range, hitting 6-of-10. It wasn?t enough.

Key number: 25, points for Florida?s Mike Rosario. Minnesota had no answer for him. The senior guard hit 8-of-12 shots (6-of-9 from 3-point range), scoring 25 points.

What?s next: Minnesota finished the season 21-13, losing four of its last five games after finishing 8-10 in Big Ten play. Some still will speculate on Tubby Smith?s future, as many felt he needed to win at least one NCAA tourney game. Well, the sixth-year coach did that. But was it enough? Stay tuned. A season that began with a 15-1 mark and No. 8 ranking went south quickly after an 88-81 loss at Indiana on Jan. 12 and largely was a disappointment.

FINAL: Mike Rosario scored 25 points and Erik Murphy added 15 to lead No. 3 seed Florida past No. 11 seed Minnesota, 78-64, on Sunday at Frank Erwin Special Events Center in Austin in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Even in defeat, Andre Hollins came through for Minnesota (21-13) with 25 points, five rebounds, 8-of-13 shooting from the field, and 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Florida (28-7) hit 57 percent of its field goals (21-of-37), including 10-of-20 from deep, and drained 26-of-36 from the free-throw line. The Gators also got a double-digit contribution from Scottie Wilbekin (12 points). The Golden Gophers shot 8-of-18 from three-point range during the game, good for 44 percent. Minnesota, which secured 14 offensive boards, also got double-digit contributions from Trevor Mbakwe (11 points) and Rodney Williams Jr. and Austin Hollins, who each scored 10.

HALFTIME: Mike Rosario scored 17 points and Erik Murphy added 15 to lead Florida to a 48-27 halftime advantage over Minnesota in the South Region quarterfinals. Both Rosario and Murphy were white-hot from the field, combining to shoot 10-of-14, including 6-of-7 from distance. An aggressive offense and the ability to get to the charity stripe allowed the Gators to take a halftime lead. Florida made 11 of 13 free throws. The Golden Gophers went into a funk with the score 24-15, going 3:43 without a point while the Gators went on a 13-0 run to open up a 22-point lead. Andre Hollins scored 11 points to lead Minnesota, which shot 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.

EDITOR'S NOTE In partnership with Narrative Science, posts fast recaps after every half of every Big Ten men's basketball game. Use the links above for more info on this specific game.