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LSU’s loss to Florida helps Vols in Championship Game

16 March, 2019, 22:52 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • LSU's Will Wade, caught on tape breaking NCAA rules, asks to return

Andrew Nembhard hit a 3-pointer with a second left, and Florida rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half to upset the ninth-ranked Tigers 76-73 Friday in the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

LSU appeared to be in control of the game, however a controversial call on Naz Reid flipped the momentum and the score of the game.

"Whether they fouled me or not, it doesn't really matter at this point", Nembhard said. I'm glad he hit it. Will Reese threw the ball deep to Reid, but he couldn't catch it, and the buzzer sounded. Mid-major regular-season championship teams that don't earn automatic NCAA Tournament bids or receive at-large bids are guaranteed spots in the NIT.

The fifth-seeded Tigers (24-9) won for the second time in as many days, pulling away for a 73-64 victory in the other afternoon quarterfinal session Friday.

Wade remains off the LSU sideline, as he has declined to meet with the school and NCAA until the federal government inquiry is complete.

The school said in a release that Smart had fully cooperated in a joint investigation between LSU and the NCAA.

They accepted their trophy as the league's regular-season champs from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey before tipoff in a subdued ceremony.

A couple of baskets by Nembhard and buckets from four different Gators led to the team being down 35-25 going into halftime.

Florida is 2-5 ATS in their last seven Saturday games and the under is 10-3 in their last 13 overall.

Interim head coach Tony Benford hurt the Tigers by picking up a technical that led to a six-point play for Florida and 66-63 lead with 3:45 left.

"Unfortunately, I probably shouldn't have gotten the T, looking back on it", Benford said. Then Allen passed out to Nembhard at the top of the key for the winning 3.

Stephanie Keith  Getty Images
Stephanie Keith Getty Images

"I worked so hard this summer and in the offseason to get myself in the best position to make plays", Harper told ESPN.

Nembhard led five Gators in double figures scoring with 20, while forward Keyontae Johnson had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

When senior Kevarrius Hayes dunked with 1:11 left to pull Florida within 61-60, that set up a frantic finish.

Reid led LSU with 26 points and 14 rebounds.

Harper finished with a game-high 20 points with 16 coming in the first half. "I had nothing to do with that, said Smart when asked if he had knowledge of the offer discussed in the wiretap".

"I wanted to work on my body", says Gafford, who weighs about 235, "and be more physical in the post". They went 2 of 15 (13.3 percent) in the first half outside the arc, a number made worse considering they shot more from the outside than inside the arc.

Auburn and Florida did their best to put on a good show with lots of shooting, and the Gators putting on a clinic in precision to keep pace with the Tigers' offense.

Auburn's Jared Harper didn't attempt a single free throw in the first half.

The Gators made it to line 26 total times and converted on 16 of those opportunities, and knocked down six triples in the second half.

"Coach Will Wade has yet to deny any wrongdoing to us or publicly", Skinner said in the statement.

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