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March 20, 2014
Instant Analysis: Upset avoided in first round
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A No. 16 seed has still never beaten a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but Albany (19-15) sure made it look possible for more than 26 minutes of Thursday's game against Florida (33-2). The Great Danes gave the Gators much more of a game than they anticipated but eventually lost 67-55. Instant Analysis takes a look.
IT WAS OVER WHEN: Well, it wasn't over until much later than most expected. The Gators did not hold a comfortable double-digit lead until an 18-6 run that stretched from 14:04 in the second half until inside of seven minutes. It wasn't always pretty from there, but the game never again felt in doubt.
HE STOLE THE SHOW: Patric Young recorded his first double-double of the season in Florida's first game at the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Young started slow, while Dorian Finney-Smith (16 points) and Casey Prather (12 points) carried the Gators offensively in the first half, but was the driving force behind what second-half separation the Gators were able to create. He battled foul trouble but did not let it impact his play, working with a sense of urgency when the Gators appeared in danger of a monumental upset.
THE STAT DOESN'T LIE: Albany found itself in a close play-in game against Mount St. Mary's because of volume 3-point shooting by the Mountaineers (12 for 37). Florida probably would have liked its chances of a blowout before the game if it had heard it would end the day outscoring Albany 38-12 inside the paint. That happened, but the Gators were non-existent around the perimeter (3 for 12 beyond the arc) and the result was an inability to pull away. Florida shot 59.5 percent inside the 3-point line.
WHAT A PLAY: Young had the look of someone who had finally seen enough. With 14:04 left and the game tied, Young corralled a missed shot from Will Yeguete and fought through defenders for the slam, drawing a foul from Albany center John Puk -- his third -- in the process. The dunk sparked a 9-0 UF run, inlcuding a Young free throw to cap the "and one."
THE BOTTOM LINE: Billy Donovan wasn't in the mood to talk about his team's defensive troubles with the TBS sideline reporter heading into halftime, and one can only assume his team got the worst of the frustration during a halftime tongue lashing. Their troubles were only worsened by Albany's ability to hit one mid-range shot after another and entered the half shooting 46.2 percent, almost 7 percent above Florida's season opponent average. In the end, the Great Danes' array of tough twos weren't enough to pull a upset of great magnitude, but they certainly will make people think about the Gators' actual prowess moving forward.
UP NEXT: Florida meets No. 9 seed Pittsburgh (26-9) Saturday in the round of 32. The Panthers defeated No. 8 seed Colorado (23-12) Thursday 77-48.