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Gators fans are still celebrating over junior point guard Chris Chiozza’s running three-point shot at the buzzer to knock out No. 8 seed Wisconsin in overtime 84-83 late Friday night in Madison Square Garden and send the Gators to the Elite Eight.
It’s gotten Chiozza plenty of attention on the national circuit. His phone was a continuous scroll of text messages after the game, and he landed on Empire State newspapers like The New York Daily News and The New York Post after his miraculous shot to keep Florida’s NCAA Tournament run still alive. Chiozza’s shot even made its way onto Fox News of all networks Saturday morning.
It was the first time in more than seven years that Florida fans were treated to a buzzer-beater. (No, Jacob Kurtz’s own-goal against FSU in December 2014 doesn’t count.)
Now, we take a look at five of the Gators’ greatest buzzer-beaters of the past 20 seasons. To be clear, not all Florida game-winners are candidates here - just the ones with shots that beat the buzzer.
5. Chandler Parsons' 30-foot three-pointer to defeat South Carolina 58-56 (Jan. 23, 2010): Twenty days after notching a miraculous buzzer-beater at NC State, Parsons came to the rescue once again for the Gators. After Gamecocks guard Devan Downey beat three Gators defenders on a drive to the rim, spinning out of a double team to give South Carolina a 56-55 lead with 5.1 seconds left, Florida pushed the ball down the floor as Erving Walker eventually found Parsons at the left wing with plenty of space. His three-point attempt was a clean swish, as fans in the O'Connell Center erupted and Florida players rushed the court to celebrate with Parsons.
4. Lee Humphrey's 17-foot jumper to beat Alabama in overtime 75-73 in the SEC Tournament (March 12, 2004): We couldn't find any archived footage of this one, but Humphrey's shot from the left baseline at the buzzer sent Florida to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament that year. At the time a true freshman guard, Humphrey's buzzer-beater was his only made field goal of the game. Florida guard Anthony Roberson almost won the game in regulation with a buzzer-beating three-pointer, but the basket was nullified after refs ruled the ball was still in his hand when the buzzer sounded. Florida would go on to eventually lose to Kentucky in the tournament final, 89-73.
3. Chandler Parsons' 75-foot three-pointer to defeat North Carolina State in overtime 62-61 (Jan. 3, 2010): This buzzer-beater is just a marvel from all aspects. Florida appeared headed for a loss with NC State ahead 60-59 in overtime and Wolfpack guard Farnold Degand at the free throw line shooting two with 2.6 seconds left. Degand hit the first but missed the second, as Parsons quickly grabbed the rebound and attempted a heave. With an NC State defender running by him with a hand in his face, Parsons released his shot from 75 feet out - and it was pure money. You can just tell by the way Dan Werner lifted his arms before it went in that he knew it was golden. The delayed reaction by the commentators and everybody else in attendance may just be the most underrated part of the below clip.
2. Mike Miller's 10-foot leaner to defeat Butler in overtime 69-68 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (March 17, 2000): Before Chiozza's shot last night, Miller's buzzer-beater against No. 12 seed Butler was arguably the greatest in Florida's NCAA Tournament history. Down 68-67 after grabbing a rebound with the seconds dwindling, Florida drove down the court - and eventually Miller found himself with the ball in his hands at the left wing with fewer than three seconds left. Miller then proceeded to drive down the middle of the lane, avoiding a swipe from a Butler defender and then taking an off-balance, contested floater while falling down as time expired. The shot was good, and Miller's teammates piled on top of him in celebration as No. 5 seed Florida pulled out the victory. The buzzer-beater would spark a run to the national title game for the first time in program history, where the Gators would then lose to Michigan State.
1. Chris Chiozza's running three-pointer to defeat Wisconsin in overtime 84-83 in the Sweet 16 (March 24, 2017): It's hard to say right now whether Chiozza's buzzer-beater will have the same sort of effect for the Florida men's basketball program like Miller's shot did back in 2000, but just from a sheer difficulty standpoint, Chiozza earns the top spot here. With four seconds remaining, Canyon Barry inbounded the ball to Chiozza, who raced down the court while Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes guarded him closely. Chiozza eventually beat Hayes with his quickness - and then with the seconds dwindling and Chiozza racing at full speed, the junior guard released a shot at the top of the key before time expired. It fell, and sent Florida to the Elite Eight after what was a rollercoaster of a game.
Video courtesy of ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS and TBS.
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