Louisville's Kyle Kuric (14) celebrates his team's 72-68 win over...

Louisville's Kyle Kuric (14) celebrates his team's 72-68 win over Florida. (March 24, 2012) Credit: AP

PHOENIX -- Hated to do that to ya, kid.

Rick Pitino nearly came unhinged and his point guard watched the end of the game from the bench. When it was over, though, it was Pitino and Louisville making plans for the Final Four and his protege, Billy Donovan, and the Florida Gators wondering what the heck happened.

Freshman forward Chane Behanan made the go-ahead basket with 1:06 left Saturday and the fourth-seeded Cardinals finished the game on a 23-8 run for a 72-68 victory over Donovan's stunned Florida team in the West Regional final.

Russ Smith, who finished with 19 points, followed Behanan's bucket with a pair of free throws, then Florida freshman Bradley Beal and teammate Kenny Boynton each missed chances to tie in the final seconds.

Louisville made one more free throw to seal the game and reach its ninth Final Four, the second under Pitino, despite playing the final 3:58 without point guard Peyton Siva, who fouled out.

The Big East Tournament champions are on an eight-game winning streak, with a trip to New Orleans on the itinerary and a possible matchup with Pitino's old school, Kentucky, which will have to get past Baylor Sunday to set up a grudge match.

Seventh-seeded Florida (26-11) went out in the regional final for the second straight year, with Donovan falling to 0-7 lifetime against the man who coached him at Providence and hired him as an assistant coach at Kentucky.

Donovan got under Pitino's skin early in the second half during a timeout when he worked over the officials, who promptly called a foul against the Cardinals (30-9) when play resumed. "He called that," Pitino shouted. "Why don't you just give him a whistle?"

When Siva picked up his fourth foul, the coach stomped onto the court and got hit with a technical.

Erving Walker made four straight free throws and the Cardinals (30-9) trailed by 11.

The Gators missed seven shots and committed one turnover in the last 2:30. They didn't score after Boynton's layup gave them a 68-66 lead with 2:39 left.


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