South Alabama upsets No. 18 Florida at home

By Adam Silverstein
December 22, 2009

Starting the season 8-0, the No. 18 Florida Gators (8-3) lost consecutive games to the No. 5 Syracuse Orange and Richmond Spiders – both at neutral sites. Returning to their home court in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for the first time in two weeks, the Gators hoped to right the ship against the Sun Belt Conference’s South Alabama Jaguars. Instead, South Alabama (9-5) had Florida on its heels all night and eventually landed a last-second layup to pick off the Gators 67-66 on their home court.

Jaguars guard Tim Williams was the star of the evening, scoring a game-high 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting while going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. He also added seven rebounds. For Florida, junior forward Alex Tyus led the way with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, freshman guard Kenny Boynton was 3-for-10 (2-of-7 from three) with 14 points and junior transfer center Vernon Macklin added 13 points in the paint. Tyus and Macklin each brought down seven rebounds while junior F Chandler Parsons, senior F Dan Werner and sophomore point guard Erving Walker each recorded six.

“For them to come in to our own building and beat us like that, it wasn’t the last play that lost us the game,” Parsons said. “It was just the whole mindset.” Boynton agreed. “We just have to get back hungry,” he said. “Early in the season we played with a chip on our shoulder and somehow we got complacent. The rankings got to our heads.”

Prior to playing the Spiders on Saturday, the Gators led the nation in three-point defense. They have since allowed seven threes each to consecutive opponents. Worst of all, Florida was only 3-for-22 from three-point range on Tuesday, a measly 13.6 percent compared to South Alabama’s 63.6 percent (7-for-11). OGGOA was only able to research back to the 1998-99 season, but the Gators have not suffered a regular season upset of this caliber at least in that period of time.

With only three more games to play before beginning Southeastern Conference action in 2010, Florida is set to take on the American Eagles (2-10) on Monday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. in Gainesville, FL. Expect the Gators to be bumped from all polls next week.

UPDATE: Head coach Billy Donovan‘s post-game comments.

“I was actually shocked that we were even in the game coming down the stretch with just our shooting numbers. Shooting 23 percent (from the field in the second half) and 10 percent (from the 3-point line in the second half), I’ve never been around numbers like that before. I’m imploring them to just be resilient, but when it’s shot after shot after shot after shot doesn’t go in, and you’re having to play defense for 30 seconds…not that we need to shoot 50 percent from the 3-point line. We shoot 33 percent from the 3-point line and we shoot 40 percent from the field, that’s all you’re going to do. The 3-point line beat us against Richmond and it beat us again tonight. At a point, guys got to deliver. When you’re a junior and senior in college, you’ve got to deliver a little bit. Dan goes 1-for-6 and Chandler goes 2-for-8. It’s hard to overcome that. They’re playing hard.”

5 Comments

  1. Aligator says:

    Are we being upset, or are we playing to the level we are at? I have not followed the hoops team this year?

  2. uf_84 says:

    Man has this December been a nightmare or what? It’s like the SEC championship game put a curse on the entire athletic program. I don’t think any Gator team has won since.

  3. ReptilesRule says:

    Has Billy lost his Mojo since the Magic fiasco??? One has to wonder…

  4. The team was coached perfectly fine. They missed wide open shots all night long.

  5. Mr2Bits says:

    whew, I was getting worried that we might make it to March madness this year. Glad to see we are back on track for the NIT again.

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