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NCAA Notebook: Gators "survive", Frazier contained & more

I(Courtesy Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

ORLANDO -- It was supposed to be easy, but it wasn’t.

Top-seeded Florida dispatched a scrappy 16-seeded Albany 67-55 Thursday afternoon in the Amway Center, avoiding a monumental upset as its road to the Final Four started out much rockier than anticipated.  

The Southeastern Conference Champions -- winners of a school-record 27 straight games and top-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament -- survived a scare from the American East Champions, but you wouldn’t have known it postgame.

Florida’s locker room felt like a funeral, and a despondent group acknowledged they must play better.

Fast. 

"I think we should look at this game as a blessing,” senior center Patric Young said.

“We can't have this same type of energy going into the next game, this same type of mindset or focus, whatever it was. We have to flush that and just remember that we have to be somebody we have been the whole year going into the next game. Hopefully learning from this game will help us do that next game.”

Florida was “out of sync” all afternoon, as senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin said the team lacked energy, focus and connectivity from the start.

Coach Billy Donovan told the team afterwards they “were lucky to get one more.”

“He said if we play like we did tonight then that will be the last one we get,” Wilbekin explained.

“We just got to flush this game and get ready for Pittsburgh.”

FRAZIER SILENCED

Sophomore sniper Michael Frazier, Florida's third-leading scorer, hit a trey for the 18th straight game, but the prolific shooter struggled to generate many looks from behind the arc (1-for-4).

The Gators, bottled up by the Great Danes’ stingy (ever-changing) zone defenses, hit just 3-of-13 three-pointers -- their fewest treys since Feb. 15 at Kentucky. 

“We played a lot of junk defenses,” Albany coach Will Brown said. “The triangle-and-two, diamand-and-one, matchup zone, we just wanted to know where [Frazier] was at all times.

“We had all sorts of names for him: Ray Allen, Jesus Shuttlesworth. He has the smoothest stroke since Ray Allen. We were determined not to let him get a free look.”

ERVING WALKER 2.0?

The Great Danes had their own Mighty Mouse and he nearly sparked the upset.

DJ Evans -- Albany’s 5-foot-9 point guard -- scored a game-high 21 points (6-for-12, 2-of-5 from behind the arc) while taking a beating in the process.

Evans, who had ice wrapped on his elbow postgame, took a knee the head at one point and later crashed to the floor following a nifty shot-fake.

It was a valiant effort by a tough little guy.

“I have a lot of bumps and bruises,” Evans said. “It was a dog-fight. I just didn’t want to let my teammates down.”

QUOTABLE

“You see the size of Patric Young? If he couldn’t make it in the NBA he’s going to have a shot in the NFL. If he doesn’t go to the NFL, he’ll be in the WWE. If he doesn’t go there, maybe UCF. I mean, that guy is enormous.”

-- Brown, on Florida’s size and athleticism

THIS & THAT

Young added 10 points and 10 rebounds, finishing with his first double-double in 45 games and 11th of his career. … The Gators had five scorers in double figures: Casey Prather (16), Young (10), Wilbekin (10), Kasey Hill (10) and Dorian Finney-Smith (16). Prather also added three blocks (tying a career-high) and two steals. … Donovan was named one of five finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award, given to the nation’s top head coach.

For more, a notebook, checkout all the latest action from the NCAA Tournament: Today's gamer on Florida's too-close-for-comfort victory, a sidebar on two reserves playing key roles and a column outling UF's chase for greatness. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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10 Point W. ... Play on ... u ? nuffin ?

Spring Champs in a week ?

Debose in gunfire altercation after being thrown through a window. Typical gator recruits.another hernandez in the making. u r u THUG U!

LOL, maybe y'all need to get some of the guys on the football team. They cant build a ten point lead on anyone. I still cant believe ga south didnt eben complete a pass. Not only does your offense suck but you let ga sout run the ball down your throats in a home game. Jesse, no story on debose yet? The OS has had it up for a few days.

Any word on if debose is in the lineup? For the spring game that is. We already know he was in the Alachua county jail line up. This guy cant stay out of trouble.Gun crimes usually guarantee a starting role.

Every win in the tourney is a good one. Look at what happened to Ohio State and Cincy. Those two already busted my bracket.
The team seems to have the right attitude and understand they must play better next game. I believe they will. All the way now Gators.
Let's go.

They played a tough SEC championship game 4 days earlier and came out flat against a team trying to make history. I wouldn't expect cane fans, who understandably know nothing about basketball, to understand that. I mean they still think its football season!

All that talk about ACC basketball and Mercer bounces UNC in the first round. Then Tennessee bounces UMass.
Pretty soon there are going to be more SEC teams left in the tourney than ACC. Go figure. More brackets busted.
Go Gators!

Actually Mercer bounced Duke which is even worse.

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