(Photo: BILL FEIG, AP)

Gators Get Statement Win Over No. 13 LSU

The Florida Gators extended their winning streak to three as they defeated the No. 13 LSU Tigers 82-77.

The Gators failed to capitalize on an opportunity to win the game in regulation, but took advantage of the extra five minutes to secure the five point victory.

KeVaughn Allen led all scorers with 21 points on 6-12 shooting, including 5-9 from beyond the arc. He dominated overtime with 12 points.

Jalen Hudson contributed a season high 15 points and Noah Locke added 15 points and 5 rebounds.

Skylar Mays paced the Tigers with 18 points, while Naz Reid posted a huge double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds.

LSU had five players finish with double digit scoring.

Gators’ Defense Controlled Tempo

While the game remained close from start to finish, the Gators controlled the pace on both ends. LSU has one of the best offenses in the country, but the Gators hindered the Tigers’ offensive versatility. Mike White continuously switched up defensive schemes to keep the Tigers on their toes. This strategy has given teams problems all year, but the Gators have been unable to capitalize late in games.

This was not the case on Wednesday night, as KeVaughn Allen and Noah Locke got hot late to secure the victory. Mike White, who has been criticized in the past for late game execution, deserves a plethora of credit for the win. He drew up numerous effective out-of-bounds plays to create easy points.

The Gators held the Tigers to 27-63 (42.9%) from the field and 7-22 (31.8%) from beyond the arc.

They also didn’t let LSU push the ball in transition, only finishing with 2 fast break points.

Offense Finally Clicking

The Gators’ offense has been their downfall all season, but they finally seem to be in a rhythm.

Jalen Hudson and KeVaughn Allen each took over a half. In the first half, Hudson had 12 points on 5-9 shooting in 14 minutes. In the second half and overtime, Allen caught fire with 21 points on 6-9 shooting. Hudson has played relatively well as of late. If he can continue this improved play and potentially take another step forward, their offense can reach a new level with an elite floor general in Andrew Nembhard.

Their defense also created numerous offensive opportunities. The Gators forced 14 turnovers and converted that into an extremely efficient 21 points.

With their offense finally clicking, the Gators are trending in the right direction at the perfect time with tournament play right around the corner.

LSU’s Interior Dominance

LSU continued to dominate on the glass and in the interior. While the rebounding battle was pretty even, the Tigers grabbed 18 offensive rebounds.

The Gators did a good job of limiting the Tigers to only 19 second chance points.

Naz Reid continued his dominant play. Reid posted a huge stat line, but the Gators did a good job of double teaming him when he got the ball in the post. This forced him to get rid of the ball which limited his post-up opportunities. He did a ton of damage on the offensive glass, grabbing 6 offensive rebounds.

The Tigers had 38 points in the paint.

What’s Next?

The Gators, who are now 7-6 in the SEC, host the Missouri Tigers on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The game is being aired on ESPNU and can be heard live on ESPN 98.1 FM, 850 AM WRUF.

About Cobi Silverstein

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