Florida has little trouble dumping UC Santa BarbaraMar 18, 2011 - 4:50 AM Florida to a 79-51 rout of UC Santa Barbara in its NCAA Tournament opener.
The Gators, the second seed in the Southeast Region, will face UCLA in third- round action on Saturday.
Florida (27-7) had few problems Thursday, building a 43-19 lead by halftime and shooting better than 54 percent overall. The Gators utilized a balanced scoring attack -- Parsons ended with 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, while Kenny Boynton had 13 points and Vernon Macklin added 10.
It was a strong opening performance for a Florida team that lost the SEC Tournament title game to Kentucky.
The Gators entered this year's tourney largely the same as they did last year's -- just a year older and more experienced. They dropped a double- overtime decision to BYU in the first round in 2010.
"We don't just want to come here and win one game," Parsons said. "We want to make some noise. And it feels good right now and we're going to celebrate, but we can't get too happy because we're on a mission and we've got another game coming up here Saturday."
The 15th-seeded Gauchos (18-14), on the other hand, relied primarily on Orlando Johnson's 21 points. James Nunnally was the only other UC Santa Barbara player to reach double figures, with 12.
Florida opened the game with a 10-1 run that Parsons capped with a three- pointer. The Gators continued to lead by a handful of possessions, then turned the game into a blowout late in the half.
A 12-0 run, ended by a short Patric Young jumper, made it a 35-13 game with 4:25 remaining.
"We had a hard time getting the ball where we like to get it, and we had a hard time staying in what we were doing because they rattled us early," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams.
Layups from Erik Murphy and Boynton in the final minutes helped Florida roll into the break with a 24-point lead, and the Gators cruised throughout the second half.
Gauchos forward Jaime Serna suffered a broken right wrist early in the first half, and did not return. He sat on the UCSB bench during the second half wearing a cast and sling...The Gauchos were making their fifth NCAA tourney appearance and second in a row. They were also a No. 15 seed last year, when they lost to Ohio State in the first round...Florida improved to 30-13 in the tourney all-time...This was the teams' first meeting.
- UC SANTA BARBARA: 51
Mar 17 8:43 PM
- UC SANTA BARBARA: 19
Mar 17 7:36 PM
- UC SANTA BARBARA: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 17 6:52 PM
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