It only gets sweeter. For the first time in program history, the Florida men’s basketball team has advanced to the Sweet 16 for a third consecutive year. The Gators defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 78-64 Sunday night. Senior forward Erik Murphy spoke about what it means to be a part of something so special.
Despite being held scoreless in the second half due to foul trouble, Murphy did just enough in the first half to help the Gators. He scored 15 points on 71 percent shooting from the floor and 50 percent from the three point line. While he said it was tough to sit out most of the second half, he did his best to motivate his teammates.
Only three Gators scored in double digits, evidently that’s all it took to pull away from the Golden Gophers in the second half. UF shot a collective 56 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the three point line. Junior guard Scottie Wilbekin added 12 points and dished out 12 dimes while senior guard Mike Rosario led the team in scoring with 25 points, shooting 66 percent from the field as well from deep. Rosario gave credit to positioning and his teammates for the offensive outpour he had.
While Florida did commit more turnovers than assists (13:14) this game, no one was more pleased with the overall play of Murphy and Rosario than head coach Billy Donovan.
Minnesota kept the game interesting late into the second half, shooting 40 percent from the field and 44 percent from the three point line. Eventually, it was foul trouble and the Gators shooting that did them in. The Golden Gophers had four players scoring in double figures with sophomore guard Andre Hollins dropping 25 points; shooting eight of 13 and making 60 percent of his shots from three.
UF is now set to face the Cinderella 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast this Friday.