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Saturday March 18, 2006Brewer's 23 Points Lead No. 3 Seed Men's Basketball To NCAA Sweet 16

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.

Behind a 23-point effort from sophomore Corey Brewer and 17 points from sophomore Joakim Noah, the No. 3 seed University of Florida menís basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinal for the third time in the last eight years by defeating No. 11 seed Wisconsin-Milwaukee 82-60 on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Arena.

 

Florida (29-6) matched the school record for victories in a season in advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 1999-00 season. The Gators held the Panthers (22-9) to just 36.1 percent shooting in the game, while out-rebounding UW-Milwaukee 41-33. Florida shot 53.6 percent (30-for-56) in setting a school record for highest field-goal percentage in an NCAA Tournament game.

 

In addition to scoring 17 points, Noah added six assists and four blocks in setting the Florida record for most blocks in an NCAA Tournament with nine following his five-block effort in the first round.

 

Sophomore Al Horford also chimed in with 13 points and six rebounds for the Gators, while junior Lee Humphrey matched the Florida school record with 99 three-pointers on the season with a pair against the Panthers.

 

The Panthers came as close as five in the beginning stages of the second half, but the Gators used a 19-6 run to boost their lead to a comfortable 15 points with 11:53 left to play. After a pair of free throws brought UW-Milwaukee within 10 points at 43-33 with 16:15 left to play, Noah ignited the Gator offense with a pair of free throws before senior Adrian Moss notched consecutive buckets. Junior Chris Richard sandwiched a pair of free throws in between baskets from Brewer and the Gators found themselves up 54-39 with 11:53 left in the contest.

 

The Panthers came as close as 11 at 58-47 with 9:37 in the game, but Florida quickly put six straight points on the scoreboard and the Panthers never cut the deficit to single digits the rest of the way.

 

The two teams battled back and forth in the opening stages of the game with the Panthers coming within three at 14-11 after a bucket at the 11:05 mark. Florida responded with a 10-0 run in a span of 4:05 as the Gators built a 24-11 advantage. Noah paved the way with a dunk to start the run and added a layup during the stretch.

 

UW-Milwaukee didnít back down as the Panthers fought back within four at 24-20 with 4:21 remaining in the half. But the Gator offense caught fire again and outscored the Panthers 10-4 in the final four minutes in taking a 34-26 lead into the locker room.

 

Game start time for Floridaís regional semifinal contest wonít be announced until Monday.

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