Whirlwind 48 hours culminates with come from behind road upset

Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk

Final: Florida 97, TAMU 89

Behind a massive second half rally, the Florida Gators shocked No. 25 Texas A&M in College Station on Sunday. Led by Zippy Broughton and Kiki Smith, the Gators proved resilient despite trailing by as many as 19 in the third quarter.

The Gators opened the game hot, scoring the first five points of the contest and possessing a 14-11 advantage after the first quarter of play.

However, for the second straight game. The Gators struggled in the second quarter and were outscored 23-13 and the Aggies took a 34-27 lead into the halftime break.

Texas A&M came out of the intermission on fire, knocking down their first five attempts of the third quarter. With 4:12 remaining in the third frame, TAMU’s Kayla Wells knocked down a pair of free throws to stretch the advantage to 19.

Instead of folding up, the Gators immediately went on a 9-0 run. By the end of the peorid, Florida had cut the deficit to single digits at 61-52.

The two teams struggled to find the hoop at the open of the fourth quarter until Florida’s Jordyn Merritt nailed a pair of three-pointers to bring the Gators within three points. A driving layup by Broughton and a trey from Kristina Moore put Florida ahead 64-62 with 5:25 remaining. The remainder of regulation was a tug-of-war with neither side gaining a lead larger than five (by Florida with 3:56 to play).

Wells missed an opportunity at the buzzer to win it before the teams settled for overtime.

The first overtime saw Florida show their resilience, yet again, as they twice faced four point deficits and rallied to force a second extra period.

The Gators dominated the second overtime session and were able to cruise to an eight point win as Texas A&M ran out of gas.

Broughton scored a career-high 28 points in 39 minutes while Smith added 27 points and 9 rebounds over 47 minutes of action. Jordyn Merritt added 17 points on 6-13 from the field.

The Gators made 45% from the floor and knocked down 13-30 from beyond the three-point stripe.

Florida moves to 11-5 overall and 1-2 in SEC play. They also appear to have found a second scoring option to Smith after Broughton’s big game.

Florida learned on Friday that star guard Lavender Briggs will miss the remainder of the season with an injury.

The Gators return to Gainesville on Thursday to face Auburn. The Tigers are 8-6 overall and 0-3 in SEC play.

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