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Jeff Eisenberg

Erving Walker rescues Florida with game-tying 30-footer

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

Even though Florida has a shooting guard who had 24 points and a small forward with a penchant for burying clutch shots, there was no doubt who coach Billy Donovan wanted to have the ball Tuesday trailing by three late in overtime.

That was point guard Erving Walker.

Florida's 5-foot-8 point guard zoomed up-court, pulled up from way beyond the arc to avoid giving Georgia the chance to foul and buried a 30-footer with one second left to force a second overtime. The Gators didn't waste their unexpected new life, pulling away for a comfortable 104-91 victory.

If early upsets against the likes of Central Florida and Jacksonville suggested Florida lacked the consistency to fulfill its preseason hype, the Gators (16-4, 5-1) are finally playing like a team capable of winning the SEC. They've won eight of nine games to take over sole possession of first place in the rugged SEC East.

Walker's overtime heroics were important for his psyche because he had to atone for a pair of missed free throws in the final 35 seconds of regulation that helped spark an improbable Georgia comeback. The Bulldogs rallied from eight points down in the last three minutes of regulation, tying it on a buzzer beater of their own when big man Trey Thompkins banked in a missed shot just before the horn.

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