Florida loss at Arizona caps ugly day for SEC basketball

Kyle Ringo
The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Florida hadn't been tested all season. Heck, the Gators hadn't been under any pressure late in a game prior to traveling to Tucson to face No. 8 Arizona in a battle of top-10 teams.

The fifth-ranked Gators, who had won each of their games by at least 13 points, fell apart down the stretch and suffered their first loss of the season 65-64 thanks to three turnovers in their end of the court in the final minute.

Mark Lyons hit a running one-hander with 7 seconds left to give Arizona the victory.

After watching his team commit three turnovers in less than a minute against the Arizona full-court pressure, Florida coach Billy Donovan inexplicably failed to use his final timeout after Lyons' shot fell through the nylon and the McKale Center crowd went nuts.

The Gators managed only a desperate and wild 3-point attempt that missed badly at the buzzer.

Senior guard Kenny Boynton had an uncharacteristically tough outing, making just two of 10 field goal attempts, including 1-for-7 behind the arc. He also missed a critical free throw in the final minute.

Florida has been carrying the torch for the Southeastern Conference this season on the hardwood and this loss certainly won't knock the Gators back too far, but it added to a forgettable day for the conference as a whole.

Alabama lost to VCU at home, which certainly isn't anything to be ashamed about, but the 19-point margin of victory is an eyebrow raiser. Texas A&M lost at former Big 12 Conference rival Oklahoma. Mississippi State lost at Loyola and Georgia lost in overtime at home to Iona.

The SEC is used to its signature victories coming from Kentucky, but you know it has been an ugly day in the conference when that big win for the Wildcats comes against Lipscomb.

Missouri, the only other SEC team other than Florida in the AP top-25 this week, did not play.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleRingo

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