The seventh-seeded UCLA Bruins have been an inconsistent team all season long, but they put up an excellent effort against the second-seeded Florida Gators for most of the game. Unfortunately, their shooting weaknesses did them in. As we pointed out in our preview, UCLA has been excellent at getting buckets inside, but the Bruins missed several point-blank layups in offensively advantageous situations. And it was compounded by poor free throw shooting, where the Bruins got to the line 24 times and missed eight of the bunnies. Other than Tyler Honeycutt, the Bruins could nail nothing from behind the arc, going 3 for 14 (all three made threes courtesy of Honeycutt).
Josh Smith had an efficient 7 for 11 shooting game with 16 points, as no one could really match up with him; Reeves Nelson put up a double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Malcolm Lee (14 points) and Honeycutt provided good support (13 points). Florida also took advantage of UCLA's poor three point defense, nailing six big triples, particularly Erving Walker nailing a pull-up three with 1:13 left in the game to push a one-point Florida lead to four. Walker finished with 21 points to lead the Gators and Kenny Boynton chipped in with 12 in support, as seven Gators finished with 7 points or more.
For more on the game, go to Bruins Nation to discuss with UCLA fans, and to Alligator Army to discuss with Florida fans.