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LEADING SCORES
FINAL
  1. Brigham YoungFREDETTE32
  2. FloridaTYUS19
New Orleans ArenaNew Orleans, LA
Source:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Florida handled the nation's hottest scorer in Jimmer Fredette. The second-seeded Gators beat BYU 83-74 Thursday night, led by Alex Tyus' 19 points and 17 rebounds.

Now the Gators have to deal with one of the nation's hottest teams.

Florida (29-7) will face eighth-seeded Butler (26-9) on Saturday in the Southeast Regional final.

Fredette, the nation's most prolific scorer, scored a game-high 32 points, but struggled for every one of them.

With Kenny Boynton shadowing his every move, Fredette made just 11 of 29 shots from the field, including a 3 of 15 performance from 3-point range for BYU (32-5).

Fredette had his moments - such as when he connected on a 3-pointer from nearly 30 feet to tie the game at 63 late in the second half - but for the most part Boynton and the Gators kept him off balance.

Compared to the tense final moments of the second half, overtime was anticlimactic. Tyus hit a layup and Boynton made a short jumper to give Florida a 72-68 lead and the Gators cruised from there.

By the end of the night, Fredette had a sore calf, a bandage on his chin and the Cougars' season was finished.

"He did an unbelievable job limiting his open looks," Florida senior Chandler Parsons said. "If you look back, pretty much every shot he took was off balance. Kenny was right there with him, staying down on him."

On the offensive end, Florida differed from its usual script of pounding the ball inside to its veteran frontcourt. The Gators shattered their previous season high with 34 3-point attempts, making 11. Boynton made 4 of 13 from long range while Parsons made 3 of 10.

BYU shot even more 3-pointers, making just 10 of 37 attempts.

The teams combined for 71 3-point attempts, which broke the single-game NCAA tournament record. The previous record was 70 by Drake and Western Kentucky in 2008.

"I thought the pace of the game was really, really fast," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I mean, it was really and up and down. You know, maybe the fatigue level - because I felt like we were trying to rotate guys in and out a little bit more and their guys played a lot of minutes."

Florida was almost unstoppable early, making 10 of its first 13 shots and leading by 10 points early. But the Gators cooled from that point, making just 4 of 13 from the field and 1 of 6 from the free-throw line in the first half.

Fredette, who came into the game as the nation's leading scorer at 28.8 points, missed his first six shots. But the Cougars were able to tread water thanks to Jackson Emery and Stephen Rogers, who combined to hit five 3-pointers in the first half.

Fredette was held scoreless for nearly 14 minutes before hitting a layup with 6:17 remaining in the first half. He made four of his next seven shots to finish the half with 10 points. BYU rallied to tie the game at 36 by halftime.

BYU finished the season with the most wins in school history and made the round of 16 for the first time since 1981, when another famous Cougars guard, Danny Ainge, was the star.

While BYU was often seen as a one-man show, Butler poses a much more team-oriented challenge.

Much like the Gators, the Bulldogs have plenty of experience. Senior forward Matt Howard scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Butler beat Wisconsin 61-54 on Thursday. Junior guard Shelvin Mack added 13.

Both players were important pieces in the Bulldogs' run to the national championship game last season and continue to show poise in tough situations.

That's one of the main reasons they're in the midst of a 12-game winning streak, including wins over Old Dominion, top-seeded Pittsburgh and the Badgers in the tournament.

Florida took advantage of BYU's lack of size in the post. Tyus, a 6-foot-8 senior, had open looks all night and helped the Gators to a 45-42 rebounding advantage.

But it probably won't be that easy for Tyus against the Bulldogs, who have a front line that includes the 6-foot-8 Howard and 6-foot-11 sophomore Andrew Smith.

Tyus said he doesn't concentrate on particular matchups - just results - as the Gators attempt to return to the Final Four for the first time since winning back-to-back national championships in 2006 and '07.

"I'm mainly coming out and trying to make an impact during the game to help the team win with offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and playing good defense," Tyus said.

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