Florida vs. LSU score: Gators fall in overtime as NCAA Tournament hopes continue to fade

By Adam Silverstein
March 6, 2019
Florida vs. LSU score: Gators fall in overtime as NCAA Tournament hopes continue to fade
Basketball

Image Credit: UAA Communications

The Florida Gators looked poised to make a massive rebound from their unfathomable home loss just four days ago, but in the end, the No. 10 LSU Tigers prevailed in overtime to continue their stellar season on Wednesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. With the Gators (17-12, 9-7 SEC) suffering another tough defeat, they lost their best opportunity to solidify a spot in the 2019 NCAA Tournament in a 79-78 loss to the Tigers (24-5, 14-2 SEC) that was their second straight defeat at home.

Let’s take a look at what went down in UF’s excruciating loss.


It was over when … Florida was unable to take a game-winning shot in the final 7.8 seconds despite having the ball on the game’s final possession. LSU scored the first five points of the overtime period, putting the hosts in an immediate deficit, but UF scored four straight to cut its deficit to one with 2:22 to play. Neither team scored over the duration of the game with the visitors missing four consecutive shots and the hosts missing back-to-back attempts before failing to get one off the final seconds. There were some 50-50 calls that did not go Florida’s way, but it had every chance to capitalize on other opportunities.

The Gators trailed by as many as 11 late in the first half before ending the opening period on an 11-2 run to cut their deficit to three at the break. An 8-0 run early in the second half gave Florida an advantage, one it would hold for more than 11 minutes before LSU retook the lead after an 11-0 scoring stretch with 6 minutes to play. The teams traded baskets from there with UF trailing by one with 29 seconds to play. That’s when redshirt senior guard Jalen Hudson hit a miracle three-pointer to put the Gators up a pair in the waning seconds; however, the hosts failed to defend on the ensuing possession as the Tigers immediately drove the length of the court in just 3 seconds to score the game-tying layup before the buzzer to end regulation.

Exceptional efforts: Hudson lit up the scoreboard on senior night, scoring a career- and season-high 33 points while making 11 of 20 shots and 4 of 9 triples. Senior center Kevarrius Hayes was not as efficient — he hit just 2 of 7 shots and 4 of 8 free throws — but he hauled in a career-high 15 rebounds in a stellar effort. Freshmen G Noah Locke and forward Keyontae Johnson combined for 25 points on 4 of f8 shooting from long range.

Odds and ends: Senior G KeVaughn Allen disappointed once again, hitting just 1 of 6 shots and missing all three of his attempts from downtown; he is 4 of 25 from the field and 1 of 12 from long range over the last three games, all crucial ones for a bubble team like UF … the Gators outshot the Tigers (.448-.431) but attempted 14 fewer shots as LSU absolutely dominated inside, outrebounding Florida 46-36 and outscoring the hosts 44-26 in the paint … the Gators fell to 3-10 in Quadrant 1 games and have just one win over a ranked opponent this season (1-7) … Florida is 11-21 against AP Top 25 teams and 2-7 against top 10 team sunder White … this was just the third time this season that UF lost when shooting above 40 percent from the field

What it means: Depending which bracketologist you want to trust, the Gators are either one of the last four teams in or one of the first four teams out of the NCAA Tournament. In other words: Florida is squarely on the bubble. Had it beat Georgia on Saturday as 11.5-point favorites, UF likely would have been in the field free and clear. When it lost that game — its worst defeat of the season — the Gators put their tournament hopes at legitimate risk. A win over LSU or Kentucky (Saturday on the road) will get Florida in the field, but with one of those games lost and UF expected to be a severe underdog to UK, that is unlikely. It will take at least one — possibly two — wins in the SEC Tournament to get into the 68-team field.

Up next: Florida will play at Kentucky on Saturday in a game that will air live on CBS at 2 p.m. ET. The Gators fell hard to the Wildcats 65-54 in the O’Dome back on Feb. 2.

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