NCAA Winners Last Night MarquetteBradley Beal made somewhat of a sheepish grin at the question. Was this your best game, the Florida freshman was asked.
He guessed so. Whatever bit of uncertainty the Gators’ best player had in answering that was missing from his teammates and coaches.
It is largely because of Beal that the Gators are headed back to the Elite Eight. He led them on Thursday as they took a 68-58 win over No. 3 Marquette at the US Airways Center in the West Region semifinal.
Beal finished one shy of his career-high with 21 points, making 8-of-10 shots on a night when the rest of the Gators (26-10) struggled shooting the ball. He added six rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocks and two turnovers.
“Without Brad tonight, we definitely don’t win that game,” said senior Erving Walker, who added 11 points. “Our defense was great, but we still needed to put the ball in the hole and he was the guy to do that for us tonight.”
Seventh-seeded Florida now finds itself in the Elite Eight for the second consecutive year and sixth time in program history. Waiting for the Gators (26-10) is No. 4 Louisville, a 57-44 winner over No. 1 Michigan State on Thursday.