NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 24: Alex Tyus #23 of the Florida Gators dunks against the Brigham Young Cougars during the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
When Chandler Parsons missed a game winning shot as time expired, it would have been understandable for people to flash back to the missed chances that allowed the Gators to lose in double overtime to BYU in the 2010 tournament.
But, as we have seen over the course of this season, these Gators are not last year's Gators.
Thursday night, the Florida Gators defeated the BYU Cougars, 83-74 in overtime. Florida was 5 for 7 shooting in overtime, 2 for 3 from 3-point range and 3 of 6 at the line. BYU ran out of gas in the final five minutes, chucking threes and turning the ball over.
Jimmer Fredette finally had his Jimmy Chitwood-esque run ended by an athletic and quick team. Fredette got his in scoring 32 points. But he was 11 of 29, including 3 of 15 from 3-point range. Fredette had six turnovers, doubling his season average. Fredette was hounded by Kenny Boynton and found his path to Florida's goal clogged by big men ready to knock him down. That is what led to Fredette jacking 15 shots from the arc, a career high. Fredette was the only BYU player in double figures, as the Cougars shot 35 percent
The play of Boynton and Alex Tyus was absolutely tremendous. Boynton, only days after spraining his ankle, played 40 of 45 minutes, scoring 17 points and five assists. He stuck to Fredette and was active on offense, ultimately forcing Fredette into covering the smaller Erving Walker, who had 16 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Tyus looked like a ball magnet on Thursday. He had 19 points on 8 of 9 shooting and 17 rebounds, doubling his scoring average and tripling his rebounding average. Tyus set a career high in rebounds. After spending the season essentially as a small forward willing to allow Parsons and Vernon Macklin to play inside, Tyus now has back-to-back games of double digit rebounds. Parsons was the other Gator in double figures, with 16 points and 9 rebounds. UF shot 47 percent, and if they shot better than 10 of 22 at the line, they probably would have easily beat BYU.
The Gators now go from playing Jimmy Chitwood to the modern Hoosiers on Saturday. National darlings Butler defeated Wisconsin, 61-54. Saturday's Southeast Regional Final is at 4:30 on CBS.