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NCAA Game Summary - Albany vs. Florida



(Thursday, March 20th)

Final Score: Florida 67, Albany 55

Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Casey Prather and Dorian Finney-Smith each scored 16 points and Florida withstood a challenge from heavy underdog Albany to earn a 67-55 victory in an NCAA Tournament South Region second-round clash.

The Gators' 27th consecutive win didn't come easy, as the 16th-seeded Great Danes tied the game at 39-39 with under 14 1/2 minutes left before Florida embarked on a 12-2 run that ultimately put the America East champions away, while enabling many a bracket filler to breathe a giant sigh of relief.

Florida (33-2), the No. 1 national seed, continues on to face ninth-seeded Pittsburgh in Saturday's third round after the Panthers blasted Colorado, 77-48, earlier in the day.

"These guys are 33-2 and haven't lost a game going all the way back to December 2nd. They've done a really, really good job focusing like they need to in front of each challenge that's been in front of them," said Gators head coach Billy Donovan. "This wasn't one of our better moments in terms of that. Now, it was good enough to win, but I think like those guys said, 'is it good enough to play against a team like Pittsburgh?' Probably not. But I'm proud of our guys because, one, they found a way to win when they didn't play their best."

Patric Young added 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win, with Scottie Wilbekin and Kasey Hill also netting 10 points for the Gators.

Albany (19-15), which captured the America East Tournament as a No. 4 seed and reached Orlando via Tuesday's 71-64 triumph over Mount St. Mary's in the First Four, was paced by D.J. Evans' 21 points.

"We came here to win," said Great Danes head coach Will Brown. "I know a lot of people smile about that and think this coach is crazy, these kids are crazy. We believed we could win. We wanted to be the first 16 to beat a 1. That was our mentality."

The Gators ran No. 1 seeds' all-time record to 117-0 against No. 16's in the field of 64, though Albany made them work for it after Evans and Peter Hooley led a 10-3 run that squared the contest at 39-39 with 14:32 remaining.

Young, one of four senior starters on a Florida squad that's gotten to the Elite Eight three straight years, then delivered a vicious dunk while being fouled on the ensuing possession and promptly sank the subsequent free throw.

The play clearly energized the Gators, with Hill coming up with a pair of steals moments later that led to four more points and Finney-Smith dunking off a Will Yeguete feed to extend the margin to 48-39 with 11:32 left.

Albany's John Puk briefly reversed the momentum by burying a midrange jumper, but Michael Frazier answered with a transition 3-pointer midway through the second half that put Florida up by double digits at 51-41.

The Great Danes never got closer than eight points down the rest of the way, with Wilbekin essentially ending all hopes for a historic upset by burying a trey that staked the Gators to a 64-52 lead with 2:10 to go.

"I think we ran out of gas," Brown remarked. "And also, we're playing the No. 1 team in the country, and all that length, physicality and athleticism is another reason why we wore down besides [playing] three games in six days."

Albany also gave the nation's No. 1 ranked team all it could handle for most of the first half, largely due to a torrid shooting pace it eventually couldn't keep up.

The Great Danes knocked down 11 of their first 16 shot attempts, with the last of those makes an open 3-pointer by Evans that gave the America East champs a 26-24 edge with seven minutes left in the opening period.

"I was a little bit disappointed with our defense in the first half," Donovan admitted. "I didn't think we defended like we normally did. I thought in the second half we did a much, much better job in that area."

Florida's vaunted defense clamped down over the remainder of the half, though, causing Albany to miss nine of its final 10 field goal tries while closing out the frame on a 10-2 run.

The Great Danes didn't score at all over the last 4:46 of the half, with Wilbekin hitting a short jumper that broke a 28-28 tie during Albany's dry spell and later driving the lane and scoring to send Florida into the break owning a 34-28 advantage.

Albany trailed by seven during the initial stages of the second half, but quickly erased the deficit with its final strong run of the day. Hooley followed four straight points from Evans with a triple that pulled the Danes within 39-38 with 15:17 left to play, then drew contact while driving to the hoop on Albany's next trip and hitting 1-of-2 free throws to knot the score.

Game Notes

Florida shot 51 percent overall from the field and outscored Albany by a 26-2 margin in bench points ... Evans was coming off a career high-tying 22-point effort in Tuesday's win over Mount St. Mary's ... Gary Johnson finished with 13 points for the Great Danes and Puk had 10 on 5-of-7 shooting ... Hooley, who went just 1-of-10 from the field, is one of four Australians on the Great Danes roster, along with brothers Sam and Mike Rowley and forward Luke Devlin ... The schools had met just once previously, an 83-64 Florida win in Gainesville in November of 2005.

03/20 19:55:34 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
4th
CAR 17
CLE 13
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
1st
TOR 15
NYK 7
 
4:30pm Today
CLE
MEM
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
BOS
6:00pm Tonight
BRK
DET
6:00pm Tonight
SAC
LAL
6:00pm Tonight
ORL
PHI
6:00pm Tonight
WAS
PHO
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
NOP
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
2nd
RAD 66
CORN 59
 
2nd
UNT 57
CREI 49
 
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
2nd
USB 67
GHND 52
 
2nd
OKST 61
MD 67
 
2nd
WINT 96
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
 
2nd
NEOM 69
TXPA 69
 
2nd
STLU 56
VERM 46
 
2nd
UNCA 60
WCU 61
 
2nd
EVAN 76
ALAST 63
 
2nd
HART 60
FIU 55
 
2nd
VALPO 60
GOSHEN 38
 
Half
LIP 32
PEAY 24
 
Half
DEN 12
BRY 22
 
Half
MONT 37
SD 33
 
1st
MTST 36
TENST 23
 
1st
SAMF 8
LAMON 15
 
1st
SCAR 11
COKR 8
 
4:00pm Today
HAMP
NARZ
 
4:00pm Today
SDU
SDCHR
 
4:00pm Today
BC
USC
4:30pm Today
NICST
TROY
 
4:30pm Today
BRAD
UCI
 
6:00pm Tonight
UGA
SHU
6:30pm Tonight
ALA
APP
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WASU
SJST
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
6:00pm Tonight
DET
COL
6:00pm Tonight
EDM
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
BUF
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
4th
NOS 14
ATL 20
 
4th
HOU 22
BAL 7
 
4th
CAR 17
CLE 13
 
4th
CHI 14
DET 17
 
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
 
4th
PIT 20
KAN 9
 
4th
MIA 28
MIN 26
 
4th
NYJ 16
NEP 17
 
4:05pm Today
STL
NYG
4:25pm Today
OAK
BUF
4:25pm Today
DAL
IND
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA