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Florida 62, Dayton 52: Finally

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The Florida Gators are headed to the Final Four.

Kevin C. Cox

One final time, Florida's seniors had a game to play to make the Final Four.

For the first time, they won it.

Florida got 23 points from Scottie Wilbekin, and 12 points from Patric Young, and 10 points from Michael Frazier II, and phenomenal post defense (Young outscored Dayton inside) and free-throw shooting (21 of 28 free throws fell) to vanquish the demons that haunted this team in Elite Eight losses in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Dayton made eight of 18 threes to stay in the game, but Florida took control of it with a 15-1 run heading into halftime, punctuated by a trademark Wilbekin exclamation point from three on the half's final possession.

With the win, Florida makes its first Final Four since 2007.

And the hardest lifting of the run toward the Gators' first national title since then is done. Now, the Gators will rest up, scout Michigan State or UConn, and prepare for the stage they have scrapped to get to all season.

To Dallas we go, Gators.