Five takeaways from Florida’s near collapse at home against LSU

To say Florida survived a game that looked like a blowout Tuesday night would be like saying a few people watched the Super Bowl.

Against a team that has now lost six of seven games, Florida made it six wins in seven tries.

But not without a ton of drama.

The Gators pulled out an 82-80 win over LSU to run its record to 17-7 and 7-4 in the SEC.

The Tigers rallied all the way back from a 20-point deficit (sound familiar?) to tie the game. But a huge steal by Zyon Pullin – or as I call him “The Glue” — and layup by Walter Clayton Jr. gave Florida what turned out to be the winning points with 20.4 seconds to play.

“Unfortunately, it has become an issue for us,” said Florida coach Todd Golden. “But at the end of the day, we’ll take the win and move on.”

The Five Takeaways isn’t sure how to feel about this one. But a win is a win.

These guys can drive you crazy

Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner
Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner

Still, they did win the game. And the Gators are 10 games over .500 for the first time since 2017. That’s the good news.

The bad news was a 1-for-11 shooting issue midway through the second half and a defense that gave up 11-for-21 shooting from three for the game.

That included Tyrell Ward’s three that tied the game at 78 with 1:28 to play.

And there was that zone issue

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a problem all year and you would think a team that usually is dangerous from long distance could shoot teams out of it.

But that hasn’t happened. The zone gives Florida fits and, to be honest, I don’t why any opponent would not play zone against the Gators.

There were bad shot selections and turnovers and very few made baskets. Florida went almost four minutes without a point.

“It’s happened a lot,” Golden said. “We get stagnant. We get tentative.”

Florida shot 67% in the first half and 34% in the second.

The Gators got a massive break at the end

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Wright had a five-foot floater to tie the game and send it to another overtime for the Gators but left it way short. He was as wide open as you can possibly be.

He grabbed the rebound and his final shot was either blocked or he was fouled, but there was no call.


Wright was one of four LSU players in double figures with 16. Clayton Jr. led Florida with 21.

The Gators won the rebounding battle 43-29.

Florida came out firing

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Instead of looking like a team playing nervously after such a big win Saturday, the Gators looked loose and free in the first half. The Gators led 48-34 despite only making two 3-point shots.

The Gators dominated the inside with seven blocked.

The first half included one of the best dunks you will ever see by Clayton Jr

And then it got interesting… again

Doug Engle/Ocala Star Banner
Doug Engle/Ocala Star Banner

This has been a crazy season. As soon as Florida went up 20 in the second half, you knew this game was going one way or the other. LSU might totally fold or Florida could make it interesting.

It was way too interesting.

“We let things slip a bit,” said freshman Alex Condon, who had nine points and seven rebounds and made a big free throw with 9.9 seconds to play. “We made it too close at the end.”

Next up

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Golden and the Gators next travel to Athens for a rematch with the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 17. Tipoff is slated for an early 1 p.m. start and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

Read more

What Todd Golden said after his team’s near collapse vs LSU

Trio of top Gators discuss victory over LSU Tigers on Tuesday night

PHOTOS: Highlights from Florida’s narrow win over LSU Tigers

Florida stands pat in NET rankings following LSU victory

Gators slide several spots in Basketball Power Index standings

Florida falls a few spots in KenPom following LSU home win


Follow us @GatorsWire on Twitter and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Florida Gators news, notes and opinions.

Story originally appeared on Gators Wire