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Posted at 08:19 PM ET, 03/18/2012

NCAA tournament: Norfolk State is no match for Florida

Norfolk State’s upset of No. 2 seed Missouri kicked off a Friday full of bracket-busting surprises and helped put the madness in an otherwise ho-hum start to the NCAA tournament.

But Florida dashed any chance of the Spartans becoming this year’s VCU. With a massive first-half run, the Gators pulled away early and never looked back, rolling to a 84-50 victory in Omaha.

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.

Boynton led five players in double-figures with 20 points and eight rebounds, Erving Walker had 15 and Bradley Beal added 12 as the Gators shot 53 percent from the field.

Senior center Kyle O’Quinnwho 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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By  |  08:19 PM ET, 03/18/2012

 
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