Michigan dismantles Florida en route to Final Four
With Nik Stauskas draining 3-pointers, Mitch McGary dominating the paint and Trey Burke running the show, Michigan quickly dismantled Florida on the way to a 79-59 victory in the South Regional final Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.
So Michigan (30-7) will play Syracuse in a national semifinal on Saturday in Atlanta. It's the Wolverines first trip to the Final Four since the Fab Five lost to North Carolina in the 1993 national championship game.
Meanwhile, Florida (29-7) lost in the Elite 8 for the third consecutive season.
Michigan jumped ahead early behind breakout star McGary, who scored eight points as the Wolverines established a 13-0 lead.
McGary came into the NCAA Tournament averaging 7.3 points and 6.1 rebounds. But entering the Wolverines' fourth game of the postseason, he was contributing a team-leading 19.7 points and 12.3 rebounds. He finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and five steals against the Gators.
McGary's two baskets to start the game -- a fast-break layup on an assist from Tim Hardaway Jr. and a dunk on an assist from Stauskas -- and Stauskas' 3-pointer from the corner set the tone as Michigan grabbed a 7-0 lead in the game's first 94 seconds.
Burke drove for a basket, dished to McGary for an inside hoop and hit a 3-pointer to boost the Wolverines to a 16-2 start. Florida never climbed back within 10 points.
From there, Stauskas stretched the lead to as many as 24 in the first half by hitting 5 of 6 3-point attempts. He went to the break with 19 points and Michigan led, 47-30.
Stauskas scored a game-high 22 points. Burke finished with 15 points and seven assists.
Michigan out-rebounded Florida 21-14 in the first half and the Wolverines, who made seven of their first nine shots, shot 51.4 percent from the field in the first half.
Will Yeguete and Kenny Boynton each scored 13 points to lead Florida.
NOTES: Michigan and Florida met for only the second time in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan won the previous contest in 1988 with a 108-85 win in the West Regional second round. ... Florida entered the South Regional final with an 0-6 record this season in games decided by single digits. The Gators won their three previous NCAA Tournament games by margins of 32, 14 and 12 points. ... By totaling 23 points and 10 assists, Burke became the first player to record a 20-plus-point, 10-assist game in the Sweet 16 since Florida coach Billy Donovan did it while playing at Providence in 1987. ... The 14-point margin Michigan erased against Kansas was the largest deficit the Wolverines have overcome to win this season. ... The last time Michigan reached the Elite 8, the Wolverines also played in Texas, losing to eventual national champion Arkansas 78-71 at Reunion Arena in Dallas.
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