FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
After a rough first half, the Florida Gators (20-14, 10-9) were able to overcome a double-digit deficit to come back and defeat the No. 9 LSU Tigers (26-7, 16-3) 76-73. Freshman Andrew Nembhard made a three-pointer for the Gators with one second remaining to seal the deal. The win likely all but sealed the Gators place in the NCAA Tournament.
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WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Gators second half may have been their best of the season. They found themselves down 10 at half and LSU came out hot to start the second. But the Gators were resilient and continued to crawl back into the game. The Gators outscored LSU 51-38 in the second half as they stormed back to shock the Tigers to win the season series.
WHO STOLE THE SHOW: Not only did he make the game winner, but Andrew Nembhard was instrumental in the Gators comeback. The freshman scored 20 points and added six assists. Nembhard controlled the show for the Gators and didn’t back down from the moment. One of the key moments in the second half was a monster alley-oop Nembhard tossed to Keyontae Johnson.
Johnson was also strong for the Gators again, as he looks plenty comfortable on the big stage of the SEC Tournament. Johnson had another double-double, scoring 16 and grabbing 10 boards.
NUMBERS DON’T LIE: It was no doubt a tale of two halved for the Gators. Their improvement offensively from the first half to the second was dramatic. Florida struggled mightily in the first, shooting 35% from the field. The Gators were just 2-for-15 from beyond the arc in the first.
But things clicked for the Gators in the second. They shot 59% from the field and went 6-for-13 from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes. During their run back into the game, the Gators had made 8 consecutive field goals.
BOTTOM LINE: Had the Gators lost, making the tournament wasn’t guaranteed. It would’ve been a waiting game to find out their postseason fate. But that won’t be the case due to the Gators dramatic comeback win. The Gators have likely all but sealed their ticket to the Big Dance.
UP NEXT: The Gators survived and advanced for another game in the SEC Tournament. Florida will get the winner of Fridays game between South Carolina and Auburn. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.