NEW YORK – It wasn’t easy, but Florida made sure New York City would become the unofficial tournament home of the Southeastern Conference, beating Wisconsin 84-83 in overtime on the buzzer-beating shot of the tourney to advance to the Elite Eight.
After blowing a double-digit lead in regulation, Florida stunned the Badgers thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer from Chris Chiozza. It was Chiozza’s only made shot from beyond the arc on the night and came after Nigel Hayes made a pair of free throws to put Wisconsin ahead 83-81 with just four seconds remaining.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 25, 2017
Florida’s hard-fought win sets up an all-SEC East Regional Final on Sunday with South Carolina, which advanced earlier in the night with an equally as impressive victory over Baylor.
For the Gators, it is the fifth time they have advanced to the Elite Eight since 2011, and the first time under second-year head coach Mike White.
The last time Florida advanced this far in the NCAA tournament was 2014, when it made the Final Four before losing to eventual national champion UConn.
Florida struggled early in the game, trailing by as many as 11 in the first half before outscoring Wisconsin 21-8 to close the half. The Gators were able to capitalize on uncharacteristic errors from the Badgers, forcing seven turnovers in the final 8:09 of the half.
Despite the Gators building a double-digit lead to start the second half, Wisconsin stormed back to take the lead after Nigel Hayes converted a three-point play with 10:21 to play in the game.
Florida would respond with a 16-3 run over the next 4:48, but Wisconsin still wouldn’t surrender.
The Badgers again tied the game thanks to a 10-2 run in the final 2:10, capped off by a Zak Showalter 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime. It was the first OT game in this year’s tournament.
The Gators were led by sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen, who led all scorers with a career-high 35 points in the win. Allen was the only Gator to score in double figures.
All five starters for Wisconsin – Showalter, Hayes, Ethan Happ, Vitto Brown and Bronson Koenig – scored in double figures.
More March Madness coverage on Yahoo Sports:
• How Chris Chiozza hit the shot of the NCAA tournament and saved Florida’s season
• These photos of Florida’s buzzer-beater are almost as incredible as the shot itself
• Billion-dollar bust: De’Aaron Fox upstages Lonzo Ball to lead Kentucky past UCLA
• Commercials during March Madness mistakenly thank Republicans for repealing Obamacare
• The Internet loves LaVar Ball memes after UCLA’s loss to Kentucky