ST. LOUIS, March 23 (UPI) -- Al Horford put Florida in front for good with 2:39 remaining Friday night and the Gators moved within one win of the Final Four by defeating Butler, 65-57.
Florida won its ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament game as it makes a bid for its second straight national title. The Gators will play Sunday in the Midwest Region final against either UNLV or Oregon.
Fifth-seeded Butler led by as many as nine points in the first half before the Gators rallied to take a six-point halftime advantage.
Butler stayed in the game, however, and the contest was tied heading down the stretch when Horford made his key, but controversial basket. The Florida center backed down toward the baseline against Brandon Crone with Crone slowly giving ground.
Horford bumped hard into Crone and the Butler center fell to the floor, after which Horford turned and scored on a short jumper. Crone was called for a foul and Horford's free throw gave Florida a 57-54 lead.
Taurean Green led Florida with 17 points and Horford had 16 for the Gators (32-5).