NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 26: The Butler Bulldogs clebrate after they defeated the Florida Gators 74 to 71 in overtime during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Some nights, you just can't beat the refs, fate or black magic. But it doesn't help when you can't rebound either.
Florida, after blowing an 11-point lead in the second half, lost their Southeast Region Final to Butler, 74-71 in overtime. With 9:51 left in regulation, the Gators led 51-40. Butler then rolled off a 20-9 run to finish the game as Florida's top scores all got collared with four fouls and Butler was finally able to drive the ball to the goal.
In overtime, each team traded possessions, with the final difference being found in the three missed free throws Florida had in the extra frame. UF did not score in the final minute of OT.
The Gators shot 44 percent, as they got cold late after shooting around 50 percent for much of the game. After Vernon Macklin (25 points) got into foul trouble, UF had difficulty scoring. Incredibly, the Gators were 18-22 at the line, but were outrebounded 36-33. Most importantly, Butler outrebounded Florida on the offensive glass, 13-8, as they pulled down boards off long jumpers, while UF could only look over their heads or hope not to be called for a foul. Florida was called for 24 fouls in the game (compared to 20 for Butler) as Butler shot 27 free throws.
Butler's Shelvin Mack led all scores with 27 points. Matt Howard had 14 points and drew 10 fouls (unofficial estimate).
The most disappointing thing Saturday, other than UF being outrebounded by a smaller team, was the play of Chandler Parsons. Like the straight-A student who fails the final exam, Parsons play probably one of the worst games of his career. He was 2-9 shooting for five points and never got to the line. He had seven rebounds, but was more comfortable in the corner on offense than working towards the hoop.
As Len Elmore pointed out during the game, Parsons' shot was flat, hitting the front rim flush and dying into the hands of a Butler player. That Parsons last touch was an awkward attempt at rebounding Erving Walker's last chance at a tie, was only icing on Parson's crap cake. It was a tragic end to such a fantastic career.
Alex Tyus followed up his sublime performance against BYU with 14 points and 10 boards. He was not dominant, but he was also tied up by four fouls against him. Kenny Boynton was the other Gator in double figures with 17 points. Walker had eight points, but was 1-10 shooting. With a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, Walker missed his 3-point attempt.