Florida, Georgetown Advance to NCAA's Final Four
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The University of Florida Gators and Georgetown University won their regional finals to fill out the Final Four of the national men's college basketball tournament.
The defending champion Gators beat Oregon 85-77 in the Midwest Regional final in St. Louis, while the Hoyas defeated North Carolina 96-84 in overtime at the East Regional final in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Florida Gators (33-5) will play UCLA Bruins (30-5), and Georgetown (30-6) will face Ohio State (34-3) in the semifinals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament on March 31 in Atlanta. The championship game is scheduled for April 2.
UCLA beat Kansas 68-55 in the West Regional final yesterday, and Ohio State topped Memphis 92-76 in the South final.
At the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Lee Humphrey scored 23 points on seven 3-pointers for Florida, which is seeking to become the first school to win back-to-back titles since Duke in 1991-92. Taurean Green had 21 points and Joakim Noah added 14 points and 14 rebounds.
``Our whole team is capable of putting up points. That's what makes us tough to guard,'' Humphrey, the third Gator to lead his team in scoring during the tournament, said at a televised postgame news conference.
At Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, Georgetown opened overtime with a 14-0 run and outscored North Carolina 15- 3 in the extra five minutes to reach the Final Four for the first time since 1985.
The Tar Heels, the No. 1 seed in the East and 2005 champions, blew a 10-point lead in the final seven minutes of regulation and then hit only one of 13 shots in overtime.
Shots just weren't falling,'' North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough said at his postgame news conference.It just didn't go in the hole late in the game.''
Jeff Green led the second-seeded Hoyas with 22 points and nine rebounds, while DaJuan Summers added 20 points and Jonathan Wallace had 19. Roy Hibbert, Georgetown's 7-foot-2 center who will oppose Ohio State's Greg Oden in the Final Four, finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots.
Hansbrough had 26 points and 11 rebounds for North Carolina, which missed 22 of its last 24 shots overall. The Tar Heels led 75-65 with seven minutes remaining in the second half and were outscored by Georgetown 31-9 the rest of the way.
That's a terrific team that's won a lot of games,'' Hoyas coach John Thompson III said.For us to figure out how to hold on and pull away with a win against that team is special.''
Florida, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, got 11 three-pointers from Humphrey and Green in beating third-seeded Oregon for a return trip to the Final Four.
Oregon's Aaron Brooks led all scorers with 27 points, while Ducks freshman Tajuan Porter, who had 33 points in the regional semifinals, didn't hit a field goal until the game's final minute and was held to 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting.
The Gators next meet UCLA in a rematch of last year's championship game, which Florida won 73-57.
It's hard to enjoy it even today here a little bit (because) UCLA has had a terrific year,'' Florida coach Billy Donovan said at a news conference.Their team is probably a little different than it was a year ago. We know it's going to be a challenge.''