A fast-paced, back-and-forth overtime period included plenty of ties and lead changes, the last of which was the Georgetown Hoyas (4-0) hitting a late jumper to edge the No. 18 Florida Gators (2-2) in the opening round of the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis at Imperial Arena in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Georgetown pulled off a 66-65 victory by making eight of its last nine field goals starting at 6:36 in the second half and ending with three seconds to play in the contest. Florida moved in to the loser’s bracket following its defeat.
OnlyGators.com breaks down Wednesday’s action with nine quick-hitters:
It was over when (overtime edition, again): After Paul White drained a triple to put Georgetown up four with 2:04 to play, Florida pushed ahead with a 6-1 run including a tip-in layup by redshirt senior center Jon Horford, a dunk and layup by redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith and a steal by redshirt junior guard Eli Carter (which created Finney-Smith’s layup). A clutch three-pointer by the Hoyas’ L.J. Peak put Georgetown up 64-62 with 30 seconds left, but sophomore point guard Kasey Hill responded out of a timeout by driving the lane and completing an old-school three-point play to push Florida ahead by one. It would not be enough, however, as D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera drained a jumper with three seconds remaining to send Georgetown to a one-point victory.
Prominent players: Smith-Rivera hit 7-of-14 shots for a game-high 17 points despite playing with four fouls in overtime. For the Gators, Finney-Smith led the way with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting even though he only played 28 minutes in the contest. He was also third on Florida’s roster with six rebounds.
Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
First half focus: Trailing by four, the Gators jumped ahead 16-15 midway through the opening 20 minutes with a quick 5-0 run. Finney-Smith drained a corner three, and redshirt senior F Jacob Kurtz followed with a fastbreak layup. Still ahead by one with 6:10 to play, Florida went cold as Georgetown pieced together a 9-0 scoring stretch over 4:23 to take an eight-point lead; the Gators missed five baskets (four threes) during their drought. UF ended the opening period on a 5-1 run, though, and trailed by just four at the break.
Second half symmetry: Finding itself down six early in the second half, Florida answered with a 7-0 run highlighted by a very deep three from Carter. However, a 3:26 scoring drought put the Gators behind again. The Hoyas then pieced together a 6-0 run of their own to take a 48-44 lead with five minutes to play. Horford hit two free throws to tie the game at 51 with less than three to go. Hill then scored on a reverse layup to give his team a two-point lead, but the Hoyas tied it with a jumper on the other end, snuffing out a 7-1 UF run. Stellar defensive plays were then made on each end, with Kurtz taking a charge to get Florida the ball back with 34.1 seconds left. Carter, who finished 2-for-14 (1-for-6 from three) with three turnovers, held for the final shot but drove into four defenders in the lane and had his shot blocked as the buzzer sounded.
Perfect plays: Midway through the first half, junior guard Michael Frazier II rebounded a missed layup but quickly turned the ball over before he could get up the court. As a response, he positioned himself under the basket and took a monster charge on Hopkins, who slammed the ball home. The basket was negated and Frazier came up with one of the most clutch plays of the evening. Frazier went to the line and made two free throws as a result of an ensuing technical foul, making both and pushing Florida ahead 20-19 with 8:01 until the break. Late in the second half, Frazier made another heads-up play, grabbing an air-balled three from Carter and laying it in just before the shot clock ran out to cut UF’s deficit to a single point. Frazier made just 4-of-11 shots (2-of-8 threes), scoring 12 points with seven rebounds.
Important injury: Less than seven minutes into the game, Horford left the court after taking a swinging elbow to his jaw. Georgetown C Joshua Smith was given a flagrant-one foul, but Frazier missed both of the free throws. Horford would eventually return in the first half after being stitched up in the locker room and finished the game 4-for-5 with a double-double of 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Smith picked up a second flagrant-one later on an elbow to Kurtz and finished the game with four fouls.
Standout stats: There were 10 ties and 21 lead changes in the contest. Georgetown outscored Florida by four in the first half, the Gators outscored the Hoyas by four in the second half, and GU edged UF by one in the overtime period. It was as even a game as teams could have despite Florida shooting just 36 percent from the floor over the duration of the contest.
What it means: The Gators have now fallen to .500 on the season with losses to the two best teams its faced, despite neither being ranked at the time of their game. Florida has also failed to score 70 points in a single contest this season and has proven to have major deficiencies on the offensive end of the court.
Next up: Rather than face Wisconsin in the winner’s bracket Thursday afternoon, Florida will take on UAB in second-round loser’s bracket action at 9:30 p.m. The game will once again air live on AXS TV.