Andrew Nembhard hit a 3-pointer with a second left, and Florida rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half to upset ninth-ranked and top-seeded Louisiana State, 76-73, on Friday in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals in Nashville.
Eighth-seeded Florida (19-14) will face No. 22 Auburn on Saturday on the strength of a thrilling comeback that firmed up the Gators’ chances for an at-large N.C.A.A. tournament berth.
L.S.U. (26-6), the SEC regular-season champion, had one last chance as Will Reese threw the ball deep to Naz Reid, who could not catch it while being defended by a pair of Gators before the buzzer. That avoided the third overtime this season between these teams.
“We did just enough to beat a very good team,” Florida Coach Mike White said.
L.S.U. (26-6) had won five straight without Coach Will Wade, who remains suspended indefinitely despite asking on Thursday to rejoin the Tigers for the postseason.
The university squashed that idea with a statement that Wade would remain suspended until he spoke to L.S.U. officials about the reports of an F.B.I. wiretap that led to his suspension on March 8.
The Tigers did have the freshman guard Javonte Smart back after L.S.U. announced before the game that Smart had fully cooperated in a “joint inquiry” with the university and the N.C.A.A. He had 13 points off the bench.
L.S.U. accepted its league championship trophy before tipoff in a subdued ceremony. The Tigers led, 35-25, at halftime and by as much as 42-29 with 16 minutes 52 seconds left.
Florida clawed back into the game by hitting eight straight shots and 10 of 11.
Reid finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Tigers.
Auburn (24-9), the fifth seed, pulled away in the last four minutes for a 73-64 victory over fourth-seeded South Carolina (16-16). Jared Harper scored 27 points in the Tigers’ sixth win in a row.
BIG TEN Cassius Winston had 18 points, Foster Loyer scored a career-high 14 off the bench, and No. 6 Michigan State (26-6) gave the Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo his 600th career win, 77-70, over Ohio State (19-14) in the quarterfinals in Chicago. The Spartans will face No. 19 Wisconsin (23-9), which got a key 3-pointer from D’Mitrik Trice with 58 seconds left in a 66-62 win that ended the underdog run of short-handed Nebraska (18-16). Glynn Watson Jr. scored 23 points for the 13th-seeded Cornhuskers, who were trying to win for the third time in three days.
ATLANTIC 10 Jeff Dowtin scored 22 points to help lead eighth-seeded Rhode Island (18-14) to a 75-70 upset of top-seeded Virginia Commonwealth (25-7) in the quarterfinals at Barclays Center. It is the third straight year that Rhode Island has ousted V.C.U. The Rams will face St. Bonaventure (17-15), a 68-57 winner over George Mason (18-15) behind 20 points each from Dominick Welch and Kyle Lofton.
AMERICAN Corey Davis Jr. scored 22 points and No. 11 Houston (30-2) routed Connecticut, 84-45, in the quarterfinals in Memphis. Jalen Adams led the Huskies (16-17) with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Cougars …read more
Source:: Daily times