Will Wade-less Tigers fall to Florida, 76-73, in SEC Tournament

LSU's Will Wade, caught on tape breaking NCAA rules, asks to return

Eighth-seeded Florida (19-14) now will play either No. 22 Auburn or SC in the semifinals Saturday after a thrilling comeback that firmed up the Gators' chances for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth.

Nembhard, of Aurora, Ont., led five Gators in double figures with 20 points. "The more we win, the more we have both". Three great battles this year. "I've thought that the whole season, but I think we showed it tonight". They've gotten better and better. Gets better and better the latter part of his senior year. Florida won 82-77 at LSU in overtime on February 20. The Tigers didn't even go to the free throw line in the first half despite having a 26-10 scoring edge in the paint.

What happened: Jared Harper nailed a 3 from long distance with 10.6 seconds to go to clinch a win for the Tigers and end Florida's run in the SEC Tournament. Then LSU led 35-25 at halftime and as much as 42-29 with 16:52 left. But the Gators kept shooting 3s and went 6 of 13 in the second half. Joe Lunardi has the Gators as an 11 seed starting the day.

Reid hit two 3-pointers in the final minute to tie it at 70 and again at 73 with 13.2 seconds left.

Smart scored 13, but it wasn't enough.

Naz Reid had a quick response for LSU as his dunk gave his team the lead once again.

LSU held a three-point advantage over UF with just under four minutes to play, but Johnson drilled a triple to tie the game up.

The Tigers fought back to lead 67-66 with a pair of free throws by Waters and a layup by Mays off a steal by Waters.

Auburn's fourth and final turnover came with 57 seconds left when Chuma Okeke was too slow getting the ball across midcourt.

Stephanie Keith  Getty Images
Stephanie Keith Getty Images

With only a second left in the game, the freshman hit the biggest shots of his young career.

Florida however answered as Andrew Nembhard buried a three-pointer to push the Gators back in front 76-73 giving Florida the win and ensuring these two teams didn't play in their third straight overtime win.

Nembhard finished the quarterfinals matchup with 20 points and six dimes, while Johnson had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Florida shot 60.5 percent for the game but Auburn had 18 more field goal attempts.

"I just want to focus on the team right now", Gafford said. White credited the two freshmen with good decisions. With all the distractions it was hard to predict how the Tigers were going to play. I just questioned the ref on it. I'm glad he hit it.

"Auburn basketball probably doesn't have many records in the history of the SEC", Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said, "but we've got one now". It was a good drive by Keyontae. As for when he found out he was playing Friday, "I found out this morning. I'm happy it went down, for sure". Florida was unable to get closer than eight points for the duration of the half. They wound up shooting 7 of 11 at the line while Florida was 16 of 26.

On Saturday, UF will take on the victor of Auburn-South Carolina, which is now underway.

The Gators turned the ball over 19 times to Auburn's four. Florida called timeout with 4:27 to play.

Stay tuned to GatorsTerritory.

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