The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Men's Basketball Championship - South Region - 2nd Round - Indiana Farmers Coliseum - Indianapolis, IN

No. 7 Florida comes up short to No. 15 Oral Roberts

514 days ago
Florida Athletics
Photo: Florida Athletics

WHAT HAPPENED: Forward Kevin Obanor scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half and NCAA scoring-leader guard Max Abmas added 26 points, including 12 at the free-throw line, and the 15th-seed Golden Eagles ousted No. 7-seed Gators in second-round play of the NCAA South Region and Indiana Farmer's Fieldhouse. In doing so, ORU became just the second 15-seed in the tournament's history to win a second game and advance to the "Sweet 16." Florida had two chances to tie the game in the waning seconds, but sophomore guard Tre Mann's closely guarded 3-point attempt with eight seconds left missed. UF guard Scottie Lewis rebounded the play in the far corner, but his fall-away attempt hit the rim but wasn't close, as time expired. Obanor, the 6-9 post man, hit nine of his 16 shots, plus four of seven from the 3-point line, and grabbed 11 rebounds. Abmas, just 6-1, hit all 12 of his free throws and had seven assists for an Eagles squad that forced the Gators into 20 turnovers and 19 fouls, thus canceling out UF's 55-percent shooting from the floor. Florida got 19 points from Mann, but none over the final 17 minutes. Noah Locke had 17 points and forward Colin Castleton had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Both teams got off to a torrid shooting start, but UF was the one that maintained it through the first 20 minutes, finishing at 58.1 percent for the period. Unfortunately, the Gators also turned it over 10 times, which allowed the Eagles to hang around and trail by just five at the break despite shooting 41.4 percent from the floor and go without a field goal the last three-plus minutes. UF stay hot to start the period, with Mann bombing back-to-back 3s to help the Gators build an 11-point with more than 16 minutes to go. ORU, though, took advantage of UF turnovers and substantial foul and free-throw discrepancy to twice close within one, then took the lead after a missed one-and-one by Osi Osifo and jump hook by Obanor at the Eagles' end to go up 77-76 with 2:50 left. UF took the lead at the other end when Locke dropped a floater, but then forward DeShang Weaver, 0-for-5 through the first 38-plus minutes, buried a 3-pointer and Oral Roberts never trailed again. The Gators missed their last four field goals and went the final 2:29 without scoring, while the Eagles hit five of their final six shots.

WHAT IT MEANS: A third straight first-weekend exit for the Gators, who since making a run to the 2017 Elite Eight, have lost in the tournament's second round each of the last two seasons (to No. 3-seed Texas Tech in Dallas in 2018; to No. 2 Michigan in Des Moines, Iowa, in '19; and now to 15-seed ORU). The first-weekend drought is the second-longest in program history. Florida lost in first- or second-play in each tournament from 2001-05.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Two days after Obanor and Abmas combined to score 58 points in ORU's Cinderella upset of No. 2-seed Ohio State, the duo lit up the Gators for 54 points and went 18 of 21 from the free-throw line.

STAGGERING STATISTIC: Twenty turnovers in what ends up being a 3-point game. Cut that number to 17 (which is still bad) and the Gators maybe win. Also, UF shot six free throws (made five) for the game and went 23 minutes without taking any. Oral Roberts got to the line 23 times, hit 19.

UP NEXT: An offseason that figures to be eventful (most of them are these days) ... though not as eventful as the last one.