Final: Florida 71, Ohio State 68


WHAT HAPPENED: fifth-year senior playmaker Tyree Appleby hit a 30-foot 3-point shot at the buzzer to give the 23rd-ranked Gators a thrilling victory over the Buckeyes in the Fort Myer’s Tip-Off Championship game at Suncoast Credit Arena. Prior to his dynamic and winning launch, Appleby had only made one of his nine shots for the game and his team had only led twice in the 40 minutes. But after the Ohio State forward Eric Liddell, in a low post battle with UF’s Anthony Durji, missed a base bank with dropping shot clock, UF guard Myreon Jones rebounded with six seconds left, threw the ball forward over the straight sideline towards Appleby, used a single dribble to move the ball deeper into the frontcourt, and buried the winner to keep the Gators undefeated. UF grad-transfer Phlandrous Fleming Jr. scored 19 points and senior striker Colin Castleton added 11 points and 13 rebounds for their third double-double of the season, but UF struggled all night to put the ball in the hole, finishing 36.7% for the game, including 31 in the first half. The Gators never gave up, however, despite falling 10 points early in the second half and seven points with less than five minutes to go against an Ohio State team that shot 53 percent in the game. first and 58 in the second. It helped that UF forced 18 turnovers and held OSU scoreless on the pitch for the final three minutes. Liddell scored 23 points and took five rebounds for the Buckeyes, who also had 11 points and six rebounds from the front Ryan Young before committing a foul nine minutes from time. Castleton, the tournament MVP, managed the second of his two free throws with 2:15 left to give the Gators their first lead since the 2:30 mark in the first half. OSU got a few free throws around a Fleming failure before UF tied the game with 35 seconds when Appleby (8 points, 2 assists) did a perfect alley-oop than Duruji (8 points, 3 rebounds) tomahawked, setting up the wild finish. Really wild.

that of Florida CJ Felder (right) and Brandon McKissic (23) collapse on the Ohio State forward Eric LIddell in the Fort Myers Tip-Off title game on Wednesday night.

WHAT THIS MEANS: This team sent a message about his tenacity and his fight. What a great tournament to build on. Not only that, five games in the 2021-22 season, the Gators have racked up Net Evaluation Tool (NET) quality points with two wins over current Quadrant-1 opponents (Florida State and OSU), which will be really good. down the line when it comes to probing the resumption of the playoffs. It was the first time in 44 years that UF had won two consecutive holiday tournaments. In 1976, the Gators won the Gator Bowl Tournament in Jacksonville and continued it a year later by winning the 1977 Vermont Classic. Florida is 5-0 for the first time since the 17-18 season and for the second during Coach Mike White‘s seven seasons with the Gators.

IN THE HONOR: It was Fleming’s breakout match in a UF uniform (5 for 11 from the floor, 9 for 10 from the free throw line), but Appleby stole it… and Fleming was totally cool with it.

AMAZING STATISTICS: The starting trio of the perimeter made up of Appleby (2 for 10), Jones (2 for 7) and Brandon McKissic (2 for 10) combined to make just six of their 25 shots, and the Gators still won. It is a testament to a lot of things, starting with their defense and their ability to fight through adversity.

FOLLOWING: Florida (5-0) will have Thanksgiving recess, then return to work Friday in preparation for Sunday’s noon Sunday home game against Troy (4-2). The Trojans, out of the Sun Belt Conference, opened the season with a 70-59 loss to Butler, then won a home opener against Jacksonville State before traveling to Boca Raton, Fla. To play. in all six teams, Florida. Paradise Classic organized by Atlantic. Troy lost his first game, 74-72, to North Dakota, but rebounded with wins over UT-Martin and FAU on Monday.

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