Taking a Look Back at the Gators Upset of LSU in the SEC Tournament
After pulling off a major upset at home against the former No. 4 Auburn Tigers on Saturday, the Florida Gators (12-5, 4-1) will travel into Baton Rouge to take on the LSU Tigers (13-4, 5-0) tonight at 7 pm on the SEC Network.
With the crucial matchup set to take place, GatorMaven is here to take a look back at the last time the two faced off.
Last season, these two teams had quite a stretch of games. Playing three times in 23 days, they quickly became very familiar with each other. Splitting the regular-season series with both games taking overtime to decide who would reign victorious, the stage was set for a third matchup in the SEC tournament.
Getting to face off yet again just nine days after their last matchup—where LSU came out on top—the Tigers were out to prove that the SEC was theirs for the taking.
Jumping out to a hot start, LSU went up 22-9 against the Gators and didn’t look back in the first half. Behind freshman standout Naz Reid, the Tigers looked as if they would roll through the SEC tournament with ease.
But, in the second half of the game, Florida began to climb the mountain. The Gators slowly but surely made their way back into the game and erased the halftime deficit midway through the second half.
After freshman forward Keyontae Johnson buried a three-point attempt while being fouled by LSU’s Reid, the Gators tied the game with 3:45 left on the clock. A game that at one time looked to be out of reach for the troubled Gators offense, it was now coming down to the wire once again for the two SEC foes.
Staying within a small margin throughout the remainder of the game, the Gators had the chance to win the ball game late.
With less than five seconds remaining, Johnson took the ball from the baseline and drove it into the paint.
Seeing a man setting up to draw a charge, Johnson kicked the ball out to fellow freshman Andrew Nembhard who knocked down a clutch triple to give the Gators their first lead of the game with one second left, 76-73.
Nembhard's shot rung throughout the entire NCAA tournament as the SEC’s No. 1 seed was unable to make it out of the quarterfinals due to being upset by the No. 8 seed Florida.
This improbable comeback win propelled the Gators into the NCAA tournament, where they ultimately fell short in the second round to the Michigan Wolverines.
Since that classic matchup last season, a lot has changed for both squads.
With each team returning only two starters from last year's game, both will have a very different look of players occupying the court. But, similar to their latest faceoff, this game still could have huge implications on postseason play come March.
For the Gators, they look to continue their hot hand and get their second straight win against a formidable opponent after upsetting Auburn at home this past weekend. With LSU being the only team that has yet to lose in conference play, this game is a must-win for the Gators to kickstart their season after a troubled start.
For Mike White’s squad to pull out another much-needed win, they will look to the talented sophomore duo in Johnson and Nembhard--guys who combined for 36 of Floridas 76 points in the last matchup--to once again lift the Gators to a victory tonight just like they did last season.