Florida back in the Elite Eight with win over Marquette

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Bradley Beal had 21 points, six boards, four assists, two steals and two blocks while shooting 8-10 from the floor as No. 7 seed Florida advanced past No. 3 seed Marquette 68-58 and into the Elite Eight.

It is the second straight year that Florida has made it to the Regional Final, and while that’s nowhere near as impressive as winning back-to-back national titles, it should put some of the rumblings that “Billy Donovan has lost it” to rest.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the win for the Gators was that they did it despite Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton combining to shoot 5-19 from the floor. If anything, this game should tell you that this Florida team is at their best when they play through Brad Beal. He’s the most consistent player the Gators have on their roster.

The other guy that deserves a ton of credit for this win is Patric Young. He didn’t score much, but he did grab five offensive rebounds. Young also made one of the biggest plays of the game. With just over two minutes left, he grabbed an offensive rebound after Marquette had cut what was once a 14 point lead to six. Marquette ended up with Jamil Wilson guarding Walker, and when the Golden Eagles tried to switch, Walker attacked, pulling up for what turned out to a dagger. He drilled a three to push the lead to nine.

As has been the norm in this tournament, the game ended with some controversy. With less than a minute left, an errant elbow from Boynton caught Wilson in the face. The referees went to the monitor to review it, but instead of calling a flagrant foul on the Florida guard, they ruled that the elbow was a “basketball play” and gave Florida two free throws.

If a flagrant 1 had been called, which many believed would have been the correct call, Marquette would have gotten two free throws and the ball back.

Florida will advance to play No. 4 seed Louisville, who knocked of No. 1 seed Michigan State, for the right to go to the Final Four. It sets up one of the most intriguing matchups of the tournament — Billy Donovan taking on his mentor and former head coach Rick Pitino.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.