OMAHA, Neb. — Norfolk State was a good story while it lasted.
Against Florida, that wasn’t for long.
Kenny Boynton scored 20 points and the balanced Gators routed the 15th-seeded Spartans 84-50 on Sunday to reach the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.
Any hope Norfolk State had of matching the upset it pulled against Missouri on Friday vanished as the Gators went on a 25-0 run in the first half.
Now Florida is off to Phoenix to face Marquette on Thursday in the round of 16.
“It’s a great feeling, a good accomplishment,” said the Gators’ Erving Walker. “It would be even better to get to the Final Four, so we’ve still got work to do.”
The Gators (25-10) had a business-as-usual air about them after dispatching the Spartans. After all, Florida is 17-2 in NCAA Tournament games since 2005-06. Combined with their 71-45 win over Virginia on Friday, the Gators posted two wins by a total margin of 60 points.
“There are certain guys who want this kind of stage,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “In this tournament you have to have players who play fearlessly on both ends of the floor and are not worried about making mistakes and are competitive and are driven to want to be great.”
Norfolk State (26-10) shook up the West Regional with its upset Friday and was trying to become the first 15 seed to reach the regional semifinals.
Florida, 4 for 23 from beyond the arc against Virginia, rediscovered its shooting touch early against Norfolk State, making five of its first eight 3-point attempts and 10 of 28 for the game.