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Final Four 2014: Florida Earns Trip to Final Four With Win Over Dayton

Final Four 2014: The last three years the Florida Gators saw their dance stop in the Elite Eight, but not this season after beating the Dayton Flyers 62-52.



As the No. 11 seed Dayton knew it had its work cut out for them heading in to Saturday’s game. As if playing the No. 1 seed in the tournament wasn’t a tough enough task, but they had history working against them as well. Win and they would become only the fourth 11-seed in tournament history to make it to the Final Four.

For about the first 15 minutes of the first half the Flyers were hanging with the Gators step by step. They even took a brief 21-19 lead when Scoochie Smith hit a three-pointer with 7:01 remaining–but than it was all down hill from there. Florida finished the half on a 15-1 run to take a 38-24 lead and never looked back.

Dayton pulled within eight after two quick three-pointers to start the second half, but never got closer. At one time the Gators opened up a 17-point lead before going on to win by 10.

Florida coach Billy Donovan was clearly very proud of his team following the game (via ESPN):

“In a lot of ways, outside the Michigan game, we were close to being in three out of four Final Fours right now, and that says a lot about these guys. But I think those experiences maybe helped us be a better team this year than maybe we would have if we’d have gotten to a couple of ones earlier.”

The Gators will find out who they’ll face in the Final Four when Michigan State takes on Connecticut Sunday at 2:20 PM ET.

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