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Gators Sink Eight Treys In First Half, Lead Louisville 41-33 At Break

Florida is enjoying a 41-33 lead over Louisville at halftime here at the NCAA West Regional Final in Phoenix, and the Cardinals are lucky it isn't a larger deficit.

One, Florida is 8 of 12 from 3-point range and 66.7 percent overall in shooting for the game. Two, Louisville coach Rick Pitino pulled starters Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng after they picked up their second personal fouls, and the Cardinals went almost seven minutes without Siva on the court and three without Dieng.

These are the two main keys to Louisville, Siva running the show from the point and Dieng the presence inside.

Siva had been enjoying solid game with five points and five assists. Dieng missed some quality looks inside, but still had eight points when he left. Pitino rolled the dice and kept them out to save them for the second half, and Florida took a 10-point lead in their absence.

Louisville's zone defense suffered without Siva as the Gators whipped the ball around the perimeter to the open man for a three or open look several times. Erik Murphy had 10 points, Kenny Boynton nine and Bradley Beal eight for the Gators and Erving Walker hit a pair of threes.

It's clear Louisville must rotate to the shooters faster on defense, and picking up their 43.8 shooting percentage in the second half is also a must.

The officials are not being kind to the Cardinals, either, as they shot just two free throws to Florida's 11 and the foul call discrepancy is 10-4 in favor of the Gators.