TAMPA, Fla. “”mdash; UCLA starters Joshua Smith, Lazeric Jones and Malcolm Lee speak to reporters in the locker room of St. Pete Times Forum after the No. 7-seeded Bruins’ 73-65 loss to No. 2-seed Florida in the third round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Smith had one of the finest games of his career with 16 points on seven-of-11 shooting, but it came in UCLA’s final game of the year, a fact that couldn’t prevent the freshman center – who Florida coach Billy Donovan called a “freight train” – from letting his eyes get red afterward in an emotional UCLA locker room.
Jones struggled with foul trouble throughout the game before fouling out with less than a minute to play. The junior guard finished with four points and five assists in 17 minutes on the floor, but committed a costly turnover with 3:07 to play and the Bruins down four points.
Lee had 14 points and six rebounds and once again led the way defensively by keeping Florida guards Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker in check early. But even the UCLA junior guard couldn’t stop Walker from going on a late barrage – the 5-foot-8-inch Walker scored 10 out of the Gators’ last 12 points to close out the game, including a deep 3-pointer he scored immediately after fighting for an airborne loose ball with Lee.