Today Oregon plays Florida for the Midwest Regional championship and the right to play UCLA in the Final Four. Oregon will need a big day out of their guards, Aaron Brooks, Tajuan Porter and Bryce Taylor, while Florida will rely on the frontcourt of Brewer, Horford and Noah.
2:42 pm: 3-3. Taurean Green hits a three for the first basket of the game. Aaron Brooks responds in kind before the shot clock expires.
2:43 pm: Damn. Tajuan Porter is 5-6? Really?
Brooks and Brewer each drive in for nice layups. 5-5. Corey’s basket was especially tough.
2:45 pm: 8-5, Florida. Oregon played good defense, forcing a turnover on the inbound pass, but Porter makes a bad decision by taking a three in transition. Florida quickly rebounds, and on the Humphrey hits an open three on the other end.
2:50 pm: 8-7, Florida. A nice shot in the post by Malik Hairston cuts the lead to one. Florida turns it over on the next possession, and the have a chance to take the lead.
2:51 pm: 10-9, Florida. The Gators rebound a bad shot and Corey Brewer drives inside for a sweet layup across the lane. Bryce Taylor posterizes Al Horford on the other end.
If Florida has a weakness today, it’s that they haven’t been taking care of the ball. The Ducks are making it tough on them.
2:53 pm: 11-10, Oregon. Hairston hits a jumper in the lane to give Oregon the lead.
Walter Hodge is in for the Gators. Man, he is ugly, and the facial hair isn’t helping.
2:56 pm: 11-11. The Ducks have done a good job of neutralizing Noah and Horford so far, but they seem to be taking a few too many ill-advised shots. Just as I say that, Hairston scores inside again. I did not expect him to be so successful in the paint. 13-11, Oregon.
3:01 pm: 16-13, Oregon. Taylor hits a three off a great pass from the inside.
Aaron brooks commits his second foul nine minutes in. Let’s hope Porter and Hairston can pick up the slack.
3:02 pm: 18-13, Oregon. Porter extends the lead at the line after Florida commits their 8th turnover.
3:04 pm: 18-16, Oregon. At the midway point of the second half, Humphrey hits another three. Still, Florida has 9 turnovers and only 5 field goals.
3:06 pm: 20-18, Oregon. Who would have thought that the best post player for Florida today would be Chris Richard?
3:07 pm: 22-19, Oregon. Malik Hairston is having a very good game in the post. I should point out that he’s 6-6.
Florida is keeping it close because what the frontcourt has done well so far is offensive rebounding. Oregon is simply outmatched in that regard.
3:11 pm: Len Elmore points out that the problem for Oregon is bad technique in boxing out. I’ll need to keep my eye out for that.
3:13 pm: 25-22, Florida. Good screening by Noah gives Green an open three to take the lead. The Gators steal the ball on the next play, and Humphrey lays it in easily. Ernie Kent calls a timeout during the Gators’ 7-0 run.
3:18 pm: 28-24, Florida. Hairston continues to have his way in the offensive paint, but Joakim Noah gets three the hard way against Joevan Catron, his third foul.
3:19 pm: 30-26, Florida. A great post move by Horford, and Florida really seems to have woken up from their early slumber.
3:20 pm: Oregon coach Ernie Kent says that center Adam Zahn is the team’s best leaper. I guess white men can jump.
3:23 pm: 33-27, Florida. Wow. What a shot by Lee Humphrey. The spin on that ball was so pure, and the shot was so on target, that the ball tore apart the net swishing through it. Unbelievable. A description cannot do justice to that shot. Again…wow.
There now a delay as the officials need to replace the net Humphrey just ruined.
3:35 pm: 39-38, Florida. I’ve missed a lot. I stepped away a little too long. I rejoined the game at 39-34, after which Brooks has hit a nice jumper, Porter stole a Gator pass, and delivered a great pass to Taylor, who slammed it in. Oregon has the momentum now. Brooks has 14 on 6 of 8 shooting.
3:37 pm: Oregon has a chance to tie before the halftime buzzer, but Florida does a great job of clamping down on Brooks, and The Gators are hanging on to a 40-38 halftime lead. Florida looks poised to take over this game, as their offense has finally found a rhythm and they’re winning the rebounding battle. But they need to cut down on turnovers and find a way to stop Aaron Brooks and Malik Hairston. For Oregon to win, they need to stay out of foul trouble, clamp down on the defensive perimeter, rebound, and hope that they continue to shoot the ball well.
4:00 pm: 44-40, Florida. The second half begins, and Florida is having some early success in the paint. They’re also doing a good job of slowing the tempo down so far in the second half.
4:04 pm: 45-43, Florida. Porter makes a great pass as Brooks hits a three, but Hairston picks up his third. The Oregon frontcourt is now in deep foul trouble, with three players and three fouls each.
4:06 pm: 50-45, Florida. Porter is really struggling on defense. Taurean Green and lee Humphrey are tearing him apart.
4:09 pm: 50-47, Florida. Marty Leunen, who averages 11 points a game, only has 4, all from the stripe.
4:10 pm: 53-47, Florida. Humphrey hits another three to put the Gators up 6. He has 17 points.
4:12 pm: 55-51, Florida. Even Walter Hodge is getting in the act to abusing Porter, driving in for an easy coast-to-coast layup.
Brroks gets a nice basket inside to give him 21 for the day.
4:13 pm: 59-53, Florida. Taking advantage of the foul trouble, Florida is now attacking inside without much resistance.
4:21 pm: 61-55, Florida. Oregon is still in this game because they’re finally rebounding the ball well. In particular, Hairston continues to overachieve in the post.
4:26 pm: 61-57, Florida. Oregon is still playing well on defense, but it simply isn;t Tajuan Porter’s day. He can;t score, and he’s a defensive liability. Ernie Kent needs to bench him.
4:28 pm: 64-57, Florida. Lee Humphrey cannot be stopped.
Oregon isn’t forcing turnovers anymore. This could mean doom for the Ducks.
4:29 pm: 67-57, Florida. And Humphrey hits ANOTHER three! He’s hit 7 of those, and now has 23 points. Why hasn’t Porter been pulled?
4:31 pm: 67-60, Florida. Leunen hits his first shot of the game, a three pointer. The Ducks will really need him to step up late in the game.
4:34 pm: Wow. That defensive set was just bad. Mismatches across the board. Brroks on Richard, Hairston on Humphrey, Porter on Green-Ugh.
4:36 pm: You don’t know the definition of awkward until you’ve heard a sports announcer plug his network’s newest sitcom.
4:41 pm: 70-64, Florida, 4:55 left. Oregon is finally getting some nice opportunities in the second half. Taylor dunks in transition off a steal, and then Brooks drives in for another layup. I think that gives him 27 for the day.
4:43 pm: 3:54 left. Hairston fouls out. That’s bull! There wasn’t enough contact to call that a foul.
4:48 pm: 72-64, Florida, 3:15 left. Porter throws up an airball, continuing his struggles today. But that’s not the important part. I just saw that something is very, very wrong with his right ear. The bottom of it curves out and up. Things that make you go…..Brrrbrbbrbbrbr.
UPDATE (3/26): Apparently I’m not the only person who noticed Tajuan Porter’s left ear. 21 people have found my site via a search term pertaining to this subject. Here’s a good picture of it below.
According to several threads in Yahoo! Answers, it’s a keloid scar, possibly from a piercing gone wrong. However, I cannot confirm this.
4:52 pm: 72-66, Florida, 1:50 left. Marty Leunen shows great patience, letting Horford and Noah leap past him before making the easy layup.
Florida has done a good job of cutting down on turnovers. I think they’ve only had 4 TOs compared to 13 in the first half. Humphrey’s shooting helps, but I think that’s the biggest reason Florida is winning this game.
4:56 pm: 75-66, Florida, 1:12 left. Leunen fouls out, Florida hits their free throws, and the Gators are putting the game out of reach.
4:57 pm: 75-69, Florida, 1:01 left. Chamberlain Oguchi comes off the bench, hits a three, and the Ducks are back within 6.
5:00 pm: 78-72, Florida, :40 left. Tajuan Porter finally hits a three, and then Florida travels. This game may not be over yet.
5:02 pm: 78-74, Florida, :31 left. Brroks is fouled and hits two free throws. Green is sent to the line but only hits one.
5:03 pm: 81-74, Florida, :24 left. When Oregon absolutely needed a shot, Brooks’ layup was rejected by Brewer. He goes to the line and hits two free throws. It looks like this game has finally been put away.
5:04 pm: 81-77, Florida, :17 left. Just as I say that, Porter hits another three to bring it within 4.
5:06 pm: 82-77, Florida, :08.4 left. Porter travels, and this game is officially over.
5:08 pm: Oregon’s desperation shot goes begging, and Florida wins, 85-77. With this win, they return to the final four, and will play UCLA in the National Semifinals. Aaron Brooks and the Oregon defense played well for the most part, but Florida’s guards, Taurean Green and Lee Humphrey, really stepped up today.
I’ll be at Tar Heel Mania to cover UNC vs. Georgetown.