The series between Florida and LSU this season has been classic. Both teams picked up overtime wins on the road. Friday’s 3rd match-up in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals might have been the best game of the 3. Florida couldn’t make a shot in the 1st half and trailed by as many as 13. In the 2nd half they came roaring back and held LSU to just 28 points. Even with the better play, it looked like we might be headed to OT again. Naz Reid tied the game at 73 in the waning seconds, but he left Florida too much time. Andrew Nembhard nailed a 3 pointer with just a second remaining to give Florida a 76-73 and likely solidified an NCAA Tournament bid.
It was a 1st half to forget for the Florida Gators. After the game was tied at 5 LSU went on a big run to get their 1st double digit lead of the game. Florida didn’t bite themselves with turnovers, they just couldn’t make a shot to save their lives. LSU having multiple near 7 footers in the paint certainly disrupted the offense. At the end of the 1st 20 minutes, Florida trailed the projected number 2 seed in the NCAA tournament by 10. Mike White was disappointed in his team’s energy and knew they had work to do if they wanted to improve their 3-8 record when trailing at halftime this season.
The 2nd half wasn’t one to forget. Florida again started slowly in the opening minutes, but then turned it on. Florida trailed by as many as 13 and never led in the game until they took a 58-57 lead on free throws. From there on it was a back and forth affair. The Gators were playing the better team basketball, but Naz Reid basically kept the Tigers in the game single handedly. His 3-pointer with seconds remaining tied the game at 73. He left Florida too much time. Andrew Nembhard nailed a 3 from the top of the arc with just a second remaining to solidify their spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The gators will now advance to the semi-finals where they will now either face Bruce Pearl’s Auburn squad or Frank Martin’s South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon. The win likely puts UF in the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens in the rest of the tournament. They will await their seeding on Sunday evening.