MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Florida Gators are back where their last three seasons have ended with yet another chance to go to the Final Four.
Michael Frazier II hit five three-pointers and finished with 19 points as the Gators beat UCLA 79-68 Thursday night to reach their fourth consecutive NCAA regional final.
The Gators (35-2) also extended the best winning streak in school history to 29 in a row in reaching the South Regional final.
“From a team aspect, I think we’ve done a great job of just staying in the moment and just trying to chase greatness,” Frazier said. “When you do that complacency isn’t a factor.”
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The tournament’s overall top seed will play 11th-seeded Dayton on Saturday night for a trip to the Final Four.
“Right now we’ve got to put this game behind us and get focused on Dayton,” said Florida senior Scottie Wilbekin, who scored 13 points. “They’re a great team. Everybody is at this point in the season, and so we’ve got to be locked in and ready because it’s going to be a battle.”
UCLA (28-9) was back in a regional semifinal for the first time since 2008 under its first-year coach, Steve Alford. But the Bruins just couldn’t match Florida’s physical defense or outshoot the Gators.
“They played very well,” Alford said of the Gators. “They are an outstanding basketball team.”
Florida shot 50 percent for the game (29 of 58), including 59.3 percent in the second half. UCLA finished 42.2 percent (27 of 64) shooting in only its fifth game scoring under 70 points this season. The Bruins were a cold 1 of 12 beyond the arc in the second half.
Jordan Adams led the Bruins with 17 points, Kyle Anderson had 11 and five assists with nine rebounds. Travis Wear added 14.
Frazier showed off the Gators’ shooting skills.
He had hit only 3 of 13 beyond the arc through the Gators’ first two tournament victories but got hot to hit five of his first six Thursday.
The Gators led 36-30 at halftime and clicked on a different level in the second half. They hit their first six shots and eight of their first 10.