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Florida Basketball

Instant Analysis: Gators can’t close, LSU escapes with win

March 6, 2019
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FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Gators (17-12, 9-7) dropped another game in heartbreaking fashion, letting the LSU Tigers (24-5, 14-2) escape with a 79-78 win in overtime. After an inconsistent first half, the Gators led most of the second half before allowing the Tigers to come back to steal the victory.

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WHAT WENT WRONG: It’s haunted Florida in a number of games this season and it came back to bite them again. The had another win in hand, but once again the Gators couldn’t close things out.

The Gators deserve some credit to force overtime when that looked unlikely after their lead slipped away. But still, they dropped another game that could’ve been theirs. Quite simply, the Gators have struggled closing games out this season and could be the difference in them making the Big Dance.

WHO STOLE THE SHOW: With it being senior night, Jalen Hudson made the most of his last game on the Gators home court. Hudson finished with a season-high 33 points and took things over in the second half. At one point, Hudson scored 18 straight points for the Gators in the second. Unfortunately for the Gators, Hudson’s effort wasn’t enough.

For the Tigers, it was a team effort on the offensive side of the ball, led by Tremont Waters. He didn’t start like he usually does, but Waters still scored 19 points, including the tying bucket with 0.5 seconds remaining to send things to overtime.

LSU had four scorers reach double-digits and received a nice contribution off the bench from Emmitt Williams. The Florida native finished with 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as he controlled the paint.

NUMBERS DON’T LIE: This loss will hurt because the Gators shot the ball better than the Tigers and finished with a better percentage from the field and beyond the arc. What killed the Gators was allowing LSU to go on a 12-2 run just as Florida started to control things with under 10 minutes left in the game. The Gators had a chance to put the Tigers away, but instead let LSU go on an offensive run as they went cold from the field.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s becoming a little repetitive at this point, but once again the Gators let a quality win slip away and they’re running out of chances. If the Gators could’ve knocked off LSU for the second time this season, it may have wrapped up their spot in the tournament. Instead, their tournament chances are up in their air as they head into arguably the toughest game of the season, in one of the toughest environment’s in the country.

UP NEXT: The always anticipated trip to Rupp Arena is up next for the Gators. The No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats will welcome Florida for the teams second meeting of the season on Saturday. The Wildcats got the best of the Gators back in February, storming back from a double-digit deficit to escape Gainesville with the win. Tip-off from Lexington is set for 2 p.m. on CBS.

 
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