ARLINGTON, Texas — Erik Murphy never took his eyes off the floor in the locker room, his droopy shoulders weighed down by three straight losses just one step shy of the Final Four.
This one might have been the worst.
Florida's senior scoring leader missed 11 shots in his first scoreless game since his sophomore year, and Michigan — led by Big Ten player of the year Trey Burke and freshman guard Nik Stauskas — scored the game's first 13 points in a 79-59 rout in the South Regional final Sunday.
“Just missed shots,” Murphy said, barely loud enough to be heard, and answering in short spurts. “Our defense was bad.”
The third-seeded Gators (29-8) overcame a slow start in a 62-50 regional semifinal victory against Florida Gulf Coast.
No such luck against Big Blue.
Michigan ran out to a 23-5 lead 9 minutes in and led, 41-17, after one of six 3-pointers from Stauskas, who was perfect from long range and led the Wolverines with 22 points.
Despite being the only team to make it to a regional final in each of the last three seasons, the Gators haven't been to the Final Four since winning consecutive national championships in 2006 and '07.
Kenny Boynton and Will Yeguete had 13 points apiece for Florida, which shot 41 percent and let Michigan (30-7) go 10 of 19 from 3-point range.
Michigan reached the Final Four for the first time since consecutive national championship game appearances in 1992 and '93, the freshman and sophomore seasons of the Fab Five: Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King.
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