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Florida knocks out Fredette, BYU; Balanced attack helps Gators advance

NEW ORLEANS -- Alex Tyus is like most of these Florida Gators -- good at a lot of things, but lacking one dominant skill. He's usually content to blend in and be just another part of the team's effectively anonymous style.

On the biggest stage of his career, the senior's impact was obvious.

Tyus had 19 points and 17 rebounds as Florida beat BYU 83-74 in overtime Thursday night, chasing a bloodied Jimmer Fredette and the Cougars out of the NCAA tournament.

Now the Gators will be playing for a spot in the Final Four for the first time since 2007 -- ascending back into the nation's elite after a hiatus from the spotlight following back-to-back national championships in 2006 and '07.

"It's been so rewarding for me to see them make the journey they've made to this point now," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "It's been very, very rewarding and fulfilling for me, and I hope in some way I've been able to give them as much as they've given me."

While Fredette was the star attraction, scoring 32 points on 11 for 29 shooting in the final game of his college career, Florida countered with balance.

Kenny Boynton added 17 points -- while also playing tight defense on Fredette -- and Erving Walker and Chandler Parsons both scored 16. Boynton and Parsons each hit three-pointers in overtime as Florida outscored BYU 15-6.

But it was Tyus' monster game that put the Gators over the top. The 6-foot-8 senior is the team's fifth-leading scorer, averaging 8.6 points and 5.7 rebounds coming into the game.

While Tyus was battling under the basket, Boynton was glued to Fredette on defense the entire game.

Fredette made just 3 of 15 from three-point range and had to work for his points against the physical pressure. By the end of the night, he had a bandage on his chin from a blow in the second half and a sore calf, but the baskets kept coming until he was held scoreless in overtime.

When the outcome became apparent with one minute remaining, BYU coach Dave Rose subbed out Fredette, bringing a standing ovation from the crowd. He averaged nearly 33 points during three NCAA Tournament games and finished the season by scoring at least 30 points in seven out of eight games.

Rose said Fredette's legacy would be a simple one to define.

"Winning games -- that's his legacy," Rose said. "He just helped his team find ways to win games."

But it's Florida (29-7) that continues to play, eliminating BYU (32-5) and reached its first regional final since 2007.

The Gators will face Butler (26-9) in Saturday's regional final. The eighth-seeded Bulldogs got 20 points and 12 rebounds from Matt Howard in a 61-54 win over fourth-seeded Wisconsin (25-9).

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UConn continues on

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Kemba Walker scored 22 of his 36 points in another dynamic second-half performance, and Connecticut moved to the brink of its fourth trip to the Final Four with a 74-67 win over San Diego State.

Freshman Jeremy Lamb added 24 points and hit a clutch three-pointer with 1:43 left for the third-seeded Huskies (29-9), who needed five wins in five days to capture the Big East tournament before advancing to an NCAA regional final for the 10th time. UConn will face Arizona on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four.

D.J. Gay scored 16 points for the second-seeded Aztecs (34-3), who couldn't quite catch up to Walker during a scintillating second-half stretch run.

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