Rapid Reaction: Florida 79, N'western St. 47

March, 22, 2013
3/22/13
10:03
PM ET
AUSTIN, Texas -- A quick look at third-seeded Florida's 79-47 victory over 14th-seeded Northwestern State:

On a day filled with double-take, bracket-wrecking scores, Florida -- while not exactly doing things at a breakneck pace -- at least managed to more than comfortably slide past Northwestern State. And, this time of year, that is all that matters.

While the Demons (23-9) were able to hang closer than many expected for the first 25 minutes by getting solid looks near the rim, Florida stepped up its defense in the second half, controlled the glass and started to hit 3-pointers. Florida shot 33.3 percent from beyond the arc to 18.8 percent for the Demons.

The Gators (27-7) had four players in double figures and were led by Erik Murphy with 18. Northwestern State, which substituted five players at a time, had nine players score but only one, DeQuan Hicks with 12, hit double figures.

Turning point: After keeping within arm's reach for the better part of 25 minutes, Northwestern State finally allowed Florida to slip to a double-digit lead. It started, as most things do when it comes to the Gators, with Kenny Boynton keeping the offense moving and getting to the line. Boynton's two free throws with 14:20 remaining gave Florida its first double-digit lead of the game. Murphy followed with a 3, and soon the Gators were able to build a comfortable margin against a team that could not produce the jump shots to keep up.

Key player: Murphy proved too difficult on the inside and out for Northwestern State. The 6-foot-10 senior went inside in the first half and followed that with a 3 in the second that keyed a 13-0 Florida run. Murphy finished 8-of-11 and had eight rebounds.

Key stat: Florida was able to dominate the offensive glass and, as a result, outscored Northwestern State 21-5 on second-chance points. The Gators' 13 offensive rebounds also forced the Demons to reach and foul on second-shot attempts, leading to 23 free throw attempts by Florida to 11 for the Demons.

Up next: Florida will play the winner of the No. 6 UCLA-No. 11 Minnesota game Sunday at the Erwin Center.

Carter Strickland | email

Reporter, HornsNation

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