ST. LOUIS - Lee Humphrey broke a record and a net. Taurean Green broke down Oregon’s defense.
Together, Florida’s backcourt duo broke the Midwest Regional final wide open.
Humphrey made seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points, Green added points 21 and top-seeded Florida returned to the Final Four with an 85-77 victory against the third-seeded Ducks in the Midwest Regional final Sunday.
“When Taurean and Lee are making 3s, we know it’s going to be a long night for the other team,” teammate Corey Brewer said. “We feel like we can get anything because they open up the game.”
Humphrey and Green were a combined 11-of-21 from 3-point range, taking advantage of Oregon’s decision to double big men Joakim Noah and Al Horford in the post and giving the defending national champions one of their best outside shooting performances of the season.
It started early, with Green hitting a 3-pointer on Florida’s opening possession. Humphrey hit his first one a few minutes later, tying Brett Nelson’s school career mark of 274 set in 2003.
They were just getting started.
Humphrey hit three more in the first half, breaking Nelson’s mark while making one from the corner, another from the wing and one more from NBA range.
“Lee is as good as any shooter I’ve been around,” coach Billy Donovan said. “He can really keep his focus in the game and he can drift through a game and go four, five, six, eight minutes where teams do a good job. Then all of a sudden he gets freed up. ... He can really make shots when he doesn’t have a rhythm.”
Humphrey’s third one from beyond the arc actually broke a string in the net, which took nearly 10 minutes to repair.
“I think it was a faulty net or something,” Humphrey said. “I didn’t shoot it any different than I shoot the rest of my shots. I don’t know. Maybe the net was a little messed up before the shot.”
He finished with three 3-pointers in the first half, getting most of them after dribbling above the top of the key, waiting for the Ducks to sag on Horford and Noah and then pulling back for long-range shots.
“It was Taurean Green and Lee Humphrey’s game,” Donovan said. “This was a game where our bigs opened the game up. A lot of people would have said, ’Hey, listen, if this is going to get into a 3-point shooting contest with Oregon, and Florida doesn’t use their bigs very effectively, it’s going to be hard for Florida to win.’ And I would agree with that.”
Humphrey and Green made it look easy, though.
“I haven’t seen Lee that hot since last year about this time, so that’s a good sign going into the Final Four,” Brewer said.
Humphrey, playing most of the season with torn tendon in the pinky finger of his non-shooting hand, finished 7-of-13 from behind the arc. Green was 4-for-8.
Humphrey’s seven 3-pointers were the most in Florida’s NCAA tournament history, breaking his own previous mark set in the first round last year against South Alabama and tied in the Final Four against George Mason.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
The Ducks opted to focus on Noah and Horford. But Humphrey and Green made them pay.
“I feel like we gave them too many 3-point shots in the game,” Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. “If anything, that got away from us. And that was due in part because of our rotating down defensively and trying to shut down the big guys.”
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