After shooting 54 percent against Missouri — including 10 of 19 from three-point range — Norfolk State never found its touch in a first half dominated by the seventh-seeded Gators. Meanwhile Florida found the perimeter stroke that was missing in its round-of-64 rout of Virginia. The Gators hit 10 three-pointers, with four coming during a pivotal 25-0 run that blew the game wide open.
The Gators will face third-seeded Marquette in Phoenix in the West region semifinals.
The Spartans led 6-4 early in the first half when Kenny Boynton’s three-pointer ignited a Florida’s big run. Norfolk State never recovered.
Senior center Kyle O’Quinn — who had 26 points and 14 points on Friday — finished with only four points on one of nine shooting. Marcos Tamares led Norfolk State with 12 points and two three-pointers, but the Spartans hit just four of their 23 attempts on the night.
The Spartans became only the fifth No. 15 seed to take down a No. 2, but after a Saturday that saw every higher seeded team advance, Norfolk State’s departure will leave the Sweet 16 with no more than three double-digit seeds.
Florida is back in the Sweet 16 for the second straight season and the fourth time in its last five trips to the tournament.
Box score: Florida 84, Norfolk State 50
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