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LSU

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Florida hits 3 with second left to upset No. 9 LSU 76-73

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Florida Gators finally figured out how to avoid overtime against LSU.

For that, they could soon be receiving a very nice reward.

Andrew Nembhard hit a 3-pointer with a second left, and Florida rallied from 13 down in the second half Friday to upset the ninth-ranked Tigers 76-73 in the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

The win likely took the Gators (19-14) off the bubble and secured them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

And troubled LSU (26-6) now has a long weekend to wait and see how the loss will impact its seeding come Selection Sunday.

With the game tied at 73, freshman Keyontae Johnson had the ball when he saw LSU forward Naz Reid sliding into position to take a charge. Johnson passed to Nembhard, who was open at the top of the key for the winner.

''I just had confidence in him,'' Johnson said. ''I'm glad he hit it.''

After a chaotic week that included the banishment of their coach, the SEC regular-season champs tried to make one last play to salvage their opening game at the SEC Tournament. Will Reese threw the ball deep to Reid, but he couldn't catch it, and the buzzer sounded.

That prevented the third overtime this season between these teams, and sent the Tigers home, where they'll attempt to get ready for next week despite all the uncertainty surrounding the program.

Coach Will Wade remained suspended for Friday's game in the wake of a report that he'd been caught on a wiretap talking with a person convicted of funneling money to the families of basketball recruits.

Guard Javonte Smart was back in the lineup after missing one game as a result of the report. The school said he was reinstated after cooperating with a ''joint inquiry'' with the school and the NCAA.

Smart scored 13 points, but it wasn't enough. And LSU clearly could've used Wade, who remains out because he has not agreed to speak with school officials.

Interim head coach Tony Benford hurt the Tigers by picking up a technical that led to a six-point play for Florida for a 66-63 lead with 3:45 left. Benford also went to a 1-3-1 defense in the final seconds that gave the Gators more room to operate for the winning shot.

''Unfortunately, I probably shouldn't have gotten the T, looking back on it,'' Benford said.

The Tigers accepted their regular-season-champion trophy from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey before tipoff. It was a subdued ceremony; guard Tremont Waters insisted the drama of the past week hasn't been a distraction.

''At the end of the day, people are going to talk regardless,'' Waters said. ''We heard stuff about this season. We heard stuff today. I personally wasn't listening for it. I don't care. We just got to move forward and keep pushing.''

Trailing by 13, Florida clawed back into the game by hitting eight straight shots and 10 of 11. Jalen Hudson made a pair of free throws with 6:05 left to give Florida its first lead of the game at 58-57, setting up a frantic finish.

Reid, who finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds, hit two 3-pointers in the final minute to tie it at 70, and again at 73 with 13.2 seconds left. Then Johnson found Nembhard for the winning 3.

Nembhard said he had no time to do anything more than catch and shoot.

''I'm happy it went down for sure,'' said Nembhard, who finished with 20 points and was one of five Gators in double figure.

SMART'S SITUATION

The freshman guard was held out of LSU's win over Vanderbilt to close the regular season and didn't learn until about 9:45 a.m. Friday that he could play again. Asked if he had any knowledge of the offer Wade reportedly discussed on the FBI wiretap, Smart said no.

''I have nothing to do with that,'' Smart said.

BIG PICTURE

Florida: The Gators' 3-point shooting woes, which contributed to their three-game skid to end the regular season, surfaced again. They went 2 of 15 (13.3 percent) in the first half outside the arc, a number made worse considering they shot more from the outside than inside the arc. But the Gators kept shooting 3s and went 6 of 13 in the second half.

LSU: The Tigers will have a complaint about the discrepancy in foul calls with 24 on LSU compared to 10 for the Gators. The Tigers didn't even go to the free throw line in the first half despite having a 26-10 scoring edge in the paint. They wound up shooting 7 of 11 at the line while Florida was 16 of 26.

''I can't get into that,'' Benford said. ''We're not going to get any calls. I heard guys (say) when there's an interim coach, you're not getting any calls.''

UP NEXT

Florida: Semifinal vs. Auburn on Saturday.

LSU: Hoping for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA bracket.

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Key Players
A. Nembhard
2 G
T. Waters
3 G
32.3 Min. Per Game 32.3
15.3 Pts. Per Game 15.3
5.9 Ast. Per Game 5.9
2.9 Reb. Per Game 2.9
41.4 Field Goal % 43.4
35.4 Three Point % 33.3
76.9 Free Throw % 79.5
  30-second timeout called 1.0
+ 3 Andrew Nembhard made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by KeVaughn Allen 1.0
+ 3 Naz Reid made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Tremont Waters 13.0
+ 1 KeVaughn Allen made 2nd of 2 free throws 24.0
+ 1 KeVaughn Allen made 1st of 2 free throws 24.0
  Personal foul on Kavell Bigby-Williams 24.0
  Lost ball turnover on Kavell Bigby-Williams, stolen by KeVaughn Allen 24.0
  Offensive rebound by Kavell Bigby-Williams 26.0
  Tremont Waters missed 3-pt. jump shot 28.0
  Defensive rebound by Naz Reid 37.0
  Andrew Nembhard missed 2nd of 2 free throws 37.0
Team Stats
Points 76 73
Field Goals 26-56 (46.4%) 30-63 (47.6%)
3-Pointers 8-28 (28.6%) 6-19 (31.6%)
Free Throws 16-26 (61.5%) 7-11 (63.6%)
Total Rebounds 31 41
Offensive 8 13
Defensive 23 27
Team 0 1
Assists 14 13
Steals 7 6
Blocks 1 2
Turnovers 9 13
Fouls 10 24
Technicals 0 1
20 PTS, 4 REB, 6 AST
26 PTS, 14 REB, 1 AST
12T
away team logo Florida 19-14 255176
home team logo 9 LSU 26-6 353873
Team Stats
away team logo Florida 19-14 67.8 PPG 36.3 RPG 12.1 APG
home team logo 9 LSU 26-6 80.9 PPG 41.2 RPG 13.1 APG
Key Players
2
A. Nembhard G 8.0 PPG 2.9 RPG 5.4 APG 41.4 FG%
0
N. Reid F 13.7 PPG 7.2 RPG 0.9 APG 47.3 FG%
Top Scorers
A. Nembhard G 20 PTS 4 REB 6 AST
N. Reid F 26 PTS 14 REB 1 AST
46.4 FG% 47.6
28.6 3PT FG% 31.6
61.5 FT% 63.6
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Nembhard 20 4 6 7/14 3/7 3/4 2 37 0 0 0 0 4
K. Johnson 16 10 3 7/11 2/5 0/5 1 35 4 0 2 2 8
J. Hudson 13 3 2 3/9 2/7 5/6 1 37 1 0 1 1 2
K. Allen 12 5 2 3/8 1/5 5/5 1 34 2 0 4 0 5
K. Hayes 11 8 0 5/7 0/0 1/2 2 27 0 1 2 4 4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Nembhard 20 4 6 7/14 3/7 3/4 2 37 0 0 0 0 4
K. Johnson 16 10 3 7/11 2/5 0/5 1 35 4 0 2 2 8
J. Hudson 13 3 2 3/9 2/7 5/6 1 37 1 0 1 1 2
K. Allen 12 5 2 3/8 1/5 5/5 1 34 2 0 4 0 5
K. Hayes 11 8 0 5/7 0/0 1/2 2 27 0 1 2 4 4
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Bassett 2 0 1 0/1 0/0 2/4 0 14 0 0 0 0 0
M. Okauru 2 1 0 1/3 0/1 0/0 2 4 0 0 0 1 0
I. Stokes 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
N. Locke 0 0 0 0/3 0/3 0/0 1 10 0 0 0 0 0
K. Stone - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Gak - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Ballard - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Fava - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Krause - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 76 31 14 26/56 8/28 16/26 10 200 7 1 9 8 23
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Reid 26 14 1 11/20 3/4 1/2 3 36 1 0 1 5 9
T. Waters 9 4 7 2/6 1/3 4/4 3 33 2 0 4 0 4
K. Bigby-Williams 8 11 3 4/9 0/0 0/2 5 20 0 0 1 7 4
M. Taylor 7 2 0 3/4 1/2 0/1 4 24 1 0 3 1 1
S. Mays 6 3 0 3/13 0/6 0/0 3 33 2 0 1 0 3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Reid 26 14 1 11/20 3/4 1/2 3 36 1 0 1 5 9
T. Waters 9 4 7 2/6 1/3 4/4 3 33 2 0 4 0 4
K. Bigby-Williams 8 11 3 4/9 0/0 0/2 5 20 0 0 1 7 4
M. Taylor 7 2 0 3/4 1/2 0/1 4 24 1 0 3 1 1
S. Mays 6 3 0 3/13 0/6 0/0 3 33 2 0 1 0 3
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Smart 13 3 2 5/7 1/2 2/2 1 31 0 1 2 0 3
E. Williams 4 1 0 2/2 0/0 0/0 1 19 0 1 1 0 1
D. Days 0 2 0 0/2 0/2 0/0 3 4 0 0 0 0 2
M. Graves - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Cooper - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Reese - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Hyatt - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 73 40 13 30/63 6/19 7/11 24 200 6 2 13 13 27