ORLANDO | The Gators are going to the Garden.
Senior forward Justin Leon scored all 14 of his points during a 21-0 run that covered 7:55 on the clock during parts of the first and second half and Florida went on to rout Virginia 65-39 on Saturday in an NCAA Tournament East region game at the Amway Center.
UF (26-8), the region’s fourth seed, makes its 11th trip to the Sweet 16 in school history and will play Wisconsin in the regional semifinals on Friday at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The eighth-seeded Badgers upset defending national champion and overall No. 1 seed Villanova 65-62 in Buffalo, continuing a decade-long hex for the team that won the won the title the season before.
The last repeat champions were the Gators in 2007.
Leon, who added nine rebounds, snapped out of a four-game slump in which he averaged 3.7 points and shot six of 15 (.400) overall and two of eight (.250) from the 3-point line.
Junior forward Devin Robinson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, following up on his 24-point, seven-rebound game in the tournament’s first round on Thursday against East Tennessee.
The Gators held Virginia to a season-low in points.
Florida pulled away from a 19-17 lead as Leon scored eight of the team’s 12 points in the last 5:10 of the first half. He then drilled two 3-point shots early in the second half as the Gators took a 40-17 lead before the Cavaliers (23-11) finally broke their scoreless streak.
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Virginia shot 28 percent in the first half and missed seven of eight 3-point attempts. The Cavaliers shot 30 percent for the game.