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The Florida Gators edge LSU in final seconds; How does it impact their NCAA chances?

Florida guard KeVaughn Allen (5) drives against LSU guard Skylar Mays (4) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Friday, March 15, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.
Florida guard KeVaughn Allen (5) drives against LSU guard Skylar Mays (4) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Friday, March 15, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. AP

The University of Florida men’s team gave college basketball fans a glimpse into the crazy finishes that encompass the NCAA Tournament as March Madness takes flight next week.

The Gators battled LSU, the SEC’s regular-season champion, down to the final seconds for a third time this season. But unlike the previous two meetings, Friday’s SEC tournament quarterfinal didn’t need overtime to settle the score.

Rather, UF earned victory in the rubber game of the three-game series in regulation behind late-game heroics.

Andrew Nembhard dropped the game-winning three-pointer with one second left, and LSU couldn’t get a final shot off.

There was also a crazy six-point possession for UF when Keyontae Johnson dropped a three-pointer as LSU’s Naz Reid committed an off-ball foul. LSU assistant coach Tony Benford, who has replaced suspended head coach Will Wade for the interim, picked up a technical foul arguing. Replays showed Johnson made the shot after the foul happened, but it came at the same time as the referee’s whistle was blown.

The Gators turned a three-point deficit into a three-point lead off the play with 3:45 remaining in the game.

So what does the result mean for UF’s chances to get into next week’s NCAA Tournament?

Well, a victory is expected to punch the Gators’ ticket into the dance, according to ESPN.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.
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