Florida advances in NCAA tournament, while Alabama falls

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Bradley Beal had 14 points and 11 rebounds, reserve Casey Prather scored a career-high 14 and Florida pulled away in the second half for a 71-45 victory Friday over Virginia in the NCAA West Regional.

The Gators finished the first half on a 17-4 run to shake off a slow start and get out to a 30-22 lead. They shot 70 percent in the second half, pushing their lead to more than 20 points.

No. 7 seed Florida (24-10), which made it to the regional finals last season. The No. 10 Cavaliers (22-10) are in the tournament for the first time since 2007.

Mike Scott had 15 points for Virginia.

Florida, averaging a nation-leading 9.9 3-pointers a game, was 4 of 23 from long range but made 24 of 30 from inside the arc.
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CREIGHTON 58, ALABAMA 57

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Doug McDermott scored 16 points and Creighton overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half to beat Alabama 58-57 Friday for its first NCAA tournament victory in 10 years.

Alabama had a chance to win during the frantic final seconds, but Josh Jones blocked Trevor Releford's 3-point attempt from the top of the key as time expired.

McDermott, the MVP of the Missouri Valley Conference and the nation's third-leading scorer at 23.2 points per game, was held scoreless for more than 14 minutes but then scored nine points in the game's final 14 minutes.

He grabbed a huge rebound with 33 seconds left after teammate Greg Echenique missed the front end of a one-and-one. McDermott was fouled immediately and converted one of two shots.

Alabama answered with an inside basket from Andrew Steele to cut the lead to 58-57 and Jones missed two free throws on the other end. But Alabama couldn't come up with the winner.


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