Florida Gulf Coast lost to Florida on Friday, ending an electrifying run through the NCAA tournament.
Cinderella ran out of fairy dust.
The Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles, who entered the NCAA tournament as an obscure 15th seed and made a historic run to the Sweet Sixteen, lost to their cross-state opponent Florida on Friday, 62-50.
The Eagles, who electrified the tournament with their alley-oops and exuberant style of play, began the game in similar fashion, dunking their way to a 15-4 lead. But the team that coined the term Dunk City began to fall apart about midway through the first half, when third-seeded Florida ended a spate of poor shooting and spun the momentum around. The Gators embarked on a 16-2 run and ended the half with a 30-26 lead.
In the second half, Florida picked up where it left off, extending its lead. At the same time, FGCU went cold. The Eagles, who were only in their second year of Division 1 competition, fumbled possessions, tossed airballs, even missed a dunk or two. The magic that made them the only 15th seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen had expired. For the first time in the tournament, they looked spent.
Florida, meanwhile, won despite shooting only 37.5 percent from the field. They moved on to the Elite Eight for the third straight year. This time they'll play Michigan, who upset Kansas in overtime earlier in the evening.