Published: Mon, March 18, 2019
Sports | By Juana Wells

FSU to Open NCAA Tournament with Vermont

FSU to Open NCAA Tournament with Vermont

The Gators went 17-14 during the regular season and 9-9 in SEC play, mostly beating who they should and losing games no one would get too upset about with one notable exception: a win at LSU on February 20.

The Gators advance on to the SEC Tournament semi-finals awaiting the victor of the Auburn and SC who tip off Friday afternoon.

Seconds later, LSU star Naz Reid buried a triple to tie things at 73-all, part of a 26-point effort for the freshman before he was one-upped by Nembhard.

Skylar Mays had given LSU a 63-60 lead on a steal and a dunk with 4:01.

LSU shot 47.6 percent (30 of 63), while Florida made almost 60 percent of its second-half shots and finished at 46.4 percent (26 of 56).

Florida (19-15) may have needed one more upset after knocking off regular-season champ LSU in the quarterfinals to earn their at-large NCAA berth. LSU was whistled for 24 fouls, Florida 10.

Nembhard led the way for Florida, not just with the dagger, but also in scoring (20 points) and assists (6) in one of his most complete showings as a Gator.

Trailing by 13, Florida clawed back into the game by hitting eight straight shots and 10 of 11.

Harper was 12 of 14 from the line in the second half. Meanwhile, Florida was held to 10-of-29 shooting (34.5 percent) including 2-of-15 from three-point range.

That prevented the third overtime this season between these teams, and sent the Tigers home, where they'll attempt to get ready for next week despite all the uncertainty surrounding the program.

The Volunteers have had their last three games decided by seven or fewer points and are in the SEC tournament final for the second straight year. Hamilton, who called Duke star Zion Williams one of the top players he has ever faced, expects the ACC to continue to show its strength in the postseason.

According to oddsmakers at, Auburn is the slight favorite in this game, as the Tigers are getting odds of -3 points against Florida. That's why three Tigers surrounded Nembhard, and his shot came up well short and drew no foul call before the buzzer. "Those guys are excited about the opportunity and we're looking forward to playing Yale on Thursday", said LSU interim head coach Tony Benford. However, Florida made consecutive baskets to again lead by three, 70-67. Lamonte Turner hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 30 seconds to play and Admiral Schofield scored 21 points as the Volunteers moved one win shy of their first SEC title in 40 years.

Instead of taking an ill advised three, Johnson dribbled off of the right side, drew four LSU defenders and then he fired to Andrew Nembhard, who nailed the game victor with one second remaining. A length-of-the court pass from Will Reese to Reid was unable to be handled as the clock expired.

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