SophomoreJoakim Noah (New York,
N.Y.) had 21 points, a career-high 15
rebounds and five blocks to help the Florida
menís basketball team became the final squad to punch its ticket to the Final
Four as the Gators defeated No. 1 seed Villanova 75-62 in the regional final
Sunday evening in Minneapolis,
Minn. The appearance in the Final
Four is the third for the Gators in program history and the first since 2000.
Florida will face No. 11 seed George Mason in
the national semifinal Saturday night at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind.,
at 6:07 ET.
Floridaís victory moved its season record
to 31-6 building on what is the most successful year ever in terms of total
wins. Villanova fell to 27-5 on the year in what was the 11th Elite Eight game
for the Wildcats.
Noah was named the MVP of the Minneapolis regional and was one of three Gators named to
the regionalís all-tournament team as forward Al Horford (Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic) and guard Taurean Green (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
were also honored.
Noah was one of four Gators in
double figures where he was joined by Green who had 19, Horford
who added 12 points and 15 rebounds and Corey
Brewer (Portland, Tenn.) who totaled 11 points.
The first few minutes of the game
were back and forth before Florida
went on a 16-2 run midway through the first half triggered by a technical foul
on Villanovaís Allan Ray.
Florida built the lead to 12 with 3:31
remaining before the break; however, the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run with all
the points coming at the foul line before the half ended with UF holding a
After only playing six minutes in
the first half due to foul trouble, Brewer helped spark a 15-0 run in the
second half by scoring six of his 11 points within the first four minutes.
Green added to the lead with running shot inside the lane, followed by a
3-pointer to put the Gators up by 12.††
Florida held Villanova to 24.0 percent
shooting from the field and limited the Wildcats to 4-of-23 shooting from