JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Gators downplayed every
aspect of their recent struggles in the NCAA Tournament.
They pointed to this being a different year and a different
team, and vowed to get different results.
Did they ever.
Florida advanced to the semifinals of the Minneapolis Regional --
the first time the team has escaped the opening weekend of the
tourney since 2000 -- and will play either Ohio State or Georgetown
The last time the Gators (29-6) advanced to the round of 16,
they went to the championship game before losing to Michigan State.
They might be poised for another run.
"You can't look forward, you can't look to the past. I'll
always remember these two games, but right now we have to move
on," Noah said. "We can do something even more special. And after
that, we can do something even more special.
"People might think that's greedy, but we want more. We want
The latest victory set off a wild celebration, with hugs and
high-fives shared among players, coaches and fans.
"Everybody was really excited, but we all know what time it
is," Horford said. "We all know that this is just the
The Gators led Milwaukee (22-9) from the opening possession and
They were up 13 in the first half and opened a 15-point
advantage midway through the second half with a flurry of dunks,
layups and 3-pointers.
It was arguably the best coach Billy Donovan's team has played
all season. Making it even more special, it came in front of a
partisan crowd at Veterans Memorial Arena, about 75 miles from the
The Gators ended five years of frustration in the tournament,
having lost twice in openers and getting bounced three times in the
"The things that have happened in the past have already been
written about and talked about," Donovan said. "I really feel bad
that our guys have to listen to that because for many of them,
their roles have changed from several years ago.
"I hope people will give them credit for who they are. They've
won an SEC championship, tied the school record for most wins in a
season and they've made it to the Sweet 16."
The sophomores did most of the work Saturday.
Brewer scored almost at will on curl routes into the paint and
was 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Not bad for a guy who woozily left
the court in the first half.
Noah was impressive again, dominating inside and making his
teammates better. He finished with seven rebounds, six assists and
Horford, saddled with foul trouble most of the first half, had
several touch shots down low and was 6-of-8 from the field.
Green struggled shooting again, but made up for it by directing
the offense to near perfection. He had six assists and three
Florida got other help, too.
Donovan had Brewer, Humphrey and others stay in constant motion
in hopes of tiring Davis and leading scorer Joah Tucker on the
other end. It seemingly worked.
Davis finished with 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting. Tucker had
nine points on 4-of-14 shooting.
"They made me work hard on both ends, and I didn't get a lot of
good looks," Davis said. "The confidence wasn't really there, so
it was just a difficult night for me."
Adrian Tigert carried the Panthers most of the way. He had 27
points on 11-of-13 shooting and eight rebounds. But he struggled to
contain Noah, Horford and Moss.
"We couldn't match their size," Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter
said. "We tried, but we just couldn't."
Now, the Gators hope their size advantage will carry them even
further in the tournament. But Donovan didn't want too much made
out of his team's newfound tournament success.
"A lot is made of being able to get out of the weekend. But
that's not why our kids are playing," he said. "'So, now you got
out of the first, now it's OK to lose.' I don't look at it that
way. I look at it as a great opportunity to keep moving on.
"If for some reason we lose our next game, it's going to be
just as disappointing to me. That's the way I look at it."