Gators squander late lead, fall to Georgia in OT – Florida Times-Union
Kevin Brockway @gatorhoops
Florida’s mystifying season of inconsistency continued Wednesday night at the O’Connell Center.
The Gators were done in by another second half collapse in a 72-69 overtime loss that broke more than a few hearts on Valentine’s Day.
There was no magic this time from senior point guard Chris Chiozza, whose last gasp 3-point attempt to tie the game at the buzzer and force a second overtime clanged off the buzzer.
Florida (17-9, 8-5 SEC) saw its modest two-game win streak snapped and suffered its fourth home loss of the season. But it was how the Gators self-destructed down the stretch that was most perplexing. Florida let an 11-point lead slip away in the final 10:05 and blew a seven-point lead in the final 1:23
The most critical mistake, junior guard Jalen Hudson being called for a travel on the in bounds play with Florida up 59-56 and 13.6 seconds left. That allowed Georgia a chance for a game-tying shot, and Yante Maten delivered with a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Florida missed 5 of its first 6 free throw attempts, including two straight by Chiozza, an 87.3 percent free throw shooter.
Led by 23 points and 10 rebounds from Maten, Georgia (14-11, 5-8 SEC) snapped a three-game losing streak and 14-game losing streak at the O’Connell Center, winning its first game at UF since 2002.
Florida went close to eight minutes without a basket in the second half, allowing a 50-39 lead to whittle to 51-50 on a Derek Ogbeide inside dunk with 3:33 left.
Grad transfer forward Egor Koulechov appeared to save the day, converting a three-point play to put Florida up 54-50 with 2:36 left and a 3-pointer to give UF a 57-50 edge with 1:23 left,.