by Ray Floriani
LYNDHURST, NJ - In a closely contested affair not decided until the last three minutes, Florida put on a late run to edge UCLA 73-65. The Gators advance to the New Orleans Regional. The numbers:
* The Bruins had some inside strength with Joshua Smith posting for 16 points and five offensive boards. UCLA led 37-26% in offensive rebounding percentage. That was negated by Florida's outstanding shooting (56 eFG) and a superb 11% TO rate. Ben Howland's Bruins also cared for the ball, with a 12% TO rate, an impressive figure for a freshman-sophomore dominated club. In the end, the closing effort was sparked by Florida's junior guard Erving Walker. Finishing with 21 points, Walker hit a big penetration jumper and three pointer in the closing minutes to send the Bruins home.