7.5 seconds on the game clock, Florida leads the nation’s No. 2 ranked team, Auburn, 63-62. Tigers have possession and inbound from the sideline three-quarters of the court away from the basket. Auburn’s Wendell Green receives the ball and scurries upcourt. He then runs right into his teammate and three Gators defenders near the top of the offensive circle before throwing an errant pass down low as time expires.
The crowd goes wild as Florida has upset a top-two team for the first time since 2009 and several students made their way onto the court to celebrate with a mini-court storming.
“This is a resilient group,” said head coach Mike White, “Auburn has a chance to win the whole thing and we just beat them, so, great win for us, obviously.”
Overall, the Gators are 17-10 and 7-7 in the SEC following the upset. The Tigers fall to 24-3 and 12-3 in league play.
Both teams played through a sluggish first half, but Florida entered the break with a slim 22-21 advantage. Additionally, both teams endured long spells without scoring in the first twenty minutes.
After Colin Castleton opened the second half scoring with a pair of free throws, Auburn responded by going on a 10-0 run over nearly three minutes.
The Tigers lead swelled to as much as eight with 10:57 remaining, but the Gators continued to fight back. With 7:36 to play, Florida took a lead after back to back threes from Tyree Appleby and Phlandrous Fleming. The UF lead ballooned to eight after another Appleby trey with 2:16, but Auburn had another run in them, cutting the lead to two points and eventually one point with 7.5 seconds remaining.
The Gators were led by Appleby (26) and Castleton (19) in the scoring column. Appleby connected on 7-15 from the floor, including 5-10 from long range, and made 7-8 from the free throw line. Castleton added eight rebounds.
The quad-one win puts Florida back in the conversation for an NCAA Tournament bid, though a lot will be decided over the final four games of the regular season and the conference tournament.
The Gators will face Arkansas on Tuesday at Exactech Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM with ESPN 2 broadcasting the game live.