Monday May 4th, 2015 9:10AM

Guards flounder, Florida falls in Final Four

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
ARLINGTON, TEXAS -- Florida played its worst game of the season on college basketball's biggest stage.

And the team's backcourt had a lot to do with it.

Southeastern Conference player of the year Scottie Wilbekin and fellow guards Michael Frazier II and Kasey Hill struggled in a 63-53 loss to Connecticut in an NCAA semifinal Saturday night. It ended Florida's season and school-record, 30-game winning streak.

Wilbekin finished with four points and just one assist for the Gators (36-3), whose last lost came at UConn on Dec. 2. Frazier hit a 3-pointer off the opening tip, but did little else the rest of the way. Hill scored seven points and was in foul trouble for much of the game.

On the defensive end, the three guards were no match for UConn's Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. The Huskies duo combined for 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. UConn (31-8) advanced to play the Kentucky-Wisconsin winner in the title game Monday night.

The Huskies did everything right after a horrible start. Florida led 16-4 over the game's first 10 minutes, but UConn got hot from 3-point range and started chipping into the lead.

By the time the first half ended, Florida was down three and out of sync.

It got no better after the break.

Wilbekin never found his rhythm and spent time on the bench seemingly dealing with cramps. Frazier, one of the best 3-point shooters in the country, couldn't get any open looks from behind the arc. He finished 1-of-3 shooting and didn't adjust to what the defense was giving him.

The Gators were 1-for-10 from 3-point range, the team's fewest treys made this season. Wilbekin missed all three of his shots from 3-point range, including an air ball with about 6 minutes to play, and was 2-for-9 from the field. Hill was nearly as inept, finishing 2-for-6 from the floor.

With the guards off, the assists were down.

Florida finished with three assists, four fewer than their previous season low. Throw in 11 turnovers, including eight from the trio, and Florida may have been fortunate to even be in the game at all in the second half.

Coach Billy Donovan's team did have a few positives.

Center Patric Young had 19 points, and slashing swingman Casey Prather added 15.

Prather scored Florida's only three baskets in a 13-minute span stretching across halftime that helped turned the game.

The Gators missed eight of their final 10 baskets of the first half and were outplayed to open the second. Prather's three-point play, which followed Young's back-to-back hook shots, cut the lead to 41-38 and gave Florida some hope.

But Napier and Boatright took over, driving around Florida's guards and creating easy baskets for DeAndre Daniels.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Florida's four seniors huddled together for a few words and then trudged off the court. It wasn't the way they expected to end the season, especially after sweeping the SEC and setting all school and conference records along the way.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 4 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 4 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 4 months ago )
Jackets, Mississippi St. clash in Orange Bowl
No. 10 Georgia Tech has the nation's second-ranked rushing offense. No. 8 Mississippi State has held seven of its 12 opponents under 125 yards on the ground.
5:04PM ( 4 months ago )
Ole Miss defense braces for TCU offense in Peach Bowl
Mississippi and TCU were part of the playoffs story in 2014. Each team was part of the chase. Each team fell short of the coveted semifinals.
5:01PM ( 4 months ago )
Kiffin shining again after season of redemption
Lane Kiffin was modest in his goals and complimentary about the team he'll be facing in the Sugar Bowl. He went on and on about how much he's learned from Nick Saban, while insisting it's no big deal when his boss yells at him. Very un-Kiffin-like, you might say.
11:02PM ( 4 months ago )
College Sports
Spring sports postseason reaches its busiest week
The spring sports postseason is picking up steam now...
1:00PM ( 3 hours from now )
Post Race Notes: Blaney gives Wood Brothers top five
It has been almost 35 years since the Wood Brothers enjoyed their last victory at Talladega Superspeedway, with the late Neil Bonnett behind the wheel.
By Mark McCarter-NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
Hawks go cold in 2nd half, drop Game 1 to Wizards
Bradley Beal shook off a sprained ankle to score 28 points and the Washington Wizards remained unbeaten in the postseason, knocking off the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 104-98 Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
By The Associated Press
6:34AM ( 2 hours ago )
Teheran dominant in shutout win for Braves
Julio Teheran gave up just three singles in six sharp innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 Sunday for a split of the four-game series.
By The Associated Press
4:38AM ( 4 hours ago )
No. 12 Nighthawks Wrap Regular Season with 23-9 Thrashing of Emmanuel
Senior day was quite special for the No. 12 University of North Georgia baseball team's senior class as seven of the eight UNG upperclassmen saw action with each offensive player getting at least one hit, four seniors smacking home runs and senior southpaw Phillip Taylor earning the victory on the mound as the Nighthawks downed Emmanuel, 23-9, Sunday afternoon at Bob Stein Stadium.
10:47PM ( 10 hours ago )