Florida vs. LSU score: Gators upset No. 13 Tigers in OT for biggest win of season

By Adam Silverstein
February 20, 2019
Florida vs. LSU score: Gators upset No. 13 Tigers in OT for biggest win of season

Image Credit: ESPN Images

It took them until the final few games of the regular season, but the Florida Gators on Wednesday night picked up their first win over a ranked opponent in 2018-19 with an 82-77 overtime defeat of the No. 13 LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. With the win, Florida (15-11, 7-6 SEC) registered its third straight victory while sending LSU (21-5, 11-2 SEC) back a seed in the league standings.

Let’s take a look at what went down in UF’s third straight win.

It was over when … freshman guard Noah Locke made two free throws to put Florida ahead 82-77 with 8 seconds to play in overtime. The Gators actually led 78-71 with 47 seconds left thanks eight straight points — including consecutive three-pointers — from senior G KeVaughn Allen, but the Tigers kept chipping away at their deficit down the stretch. An LSU three saw UF’s lead cut to as 80-77 with 19 seconds left, and Allen was trapped in a corner on an inbounds play moments later, giving the hosts an opportunity to tie the game. A heaved trey clanged off the front of the rim with 12 seconds remaining, giving Locke the opportunity to ice the game at the line.

Allen scored 10 straight points in the second half and 12 of Florida’s 18 in the extra period, while Locke contributed five. Allen’s scoring made up not only for his turnover in the waning seconds but also a failed final play of regulation when Allen gave up a runner with time ticking away to pass to senior center Kevarrius Hayes, who did not have enough time to put up a basket due to the shot clock. Luckily for Allen and the Gators, the Tigers missed their rushed attempt at the end of regulation, too.

Exceptional efforts: Allen posted 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting, making 5-of-9 from three-point land and 4-of-5 from the line. He was one of four double-digit scorers for Florida. Redshirt senior G Jalen Hudson did his damage with 12 first-half points, finishing with 15 total; he started 5 of 6 but finished 1 of 7. Locke posted 15 while hitting 3-of-9 attempts from downtown, and Hayes was a perfect 4 for 4 with 10 points and seven rebounds. It was a true team effort from the Gators.

Odds and ends: Each team had 14 turnovers, which Florida converted into 21 points while holding LSU to just seven … the Gators held strong in the paint, only dropping the rebounding margin 38-26 and paint scoring 38-34 … UF led for 29:39 but there were 13 ties and nine lead changes … this marked the first time since December 2018 that Florida shot better than .400 in consecutive games … Florida won its first game against a ranked opponent this season (1-6) and is now 11-20 all-time under Mike White and 5-11 vs. top 15 teams

What it means: The Gators picked up their third Quadrant 1 win of the season — second straight — and do not have a “bad loss” on their resume. That makes Florida 3-9 against such opponents this season, though that record does not hurt as much as one might expect as teams are not penalized harshly for Quadrant 1 losses. UF has also won three straight games for the second time this season, this time doing so with back-to-back road victories over two of the 10 toughest opponents they have faced. Momentum is clearly on this team’s side down the stretch.

Up next: Florida will host Missouri on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET as it looks to win four straight for the first time this campaign. The game will air live nationally on SEC Network.

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