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Smart returns to LSU lineup for SEC tourney loss

Smart returns to LSU lineup for SEC tourney loss

Florida called timeout with 4:27 to play. Mason Jones scored a career-high 30 points and played a key role in a 15-2 run late in the game to get the Razorbacks to within two (53-51) with 1:02 left, but Florida made four free throws inside the final 12 seconds to get a 57-51 victory. Then Ja'Vonte Smart scored four quick points as LSU took a 24-11 lead and maintained the double digits through the first half and lead 35-25 at the break.

"I mean, I feel like we could have gotten anything that we wanted", Gafford said of the offensive struggles.

Florida was clinging to a 47-44 lead when Allen took a 3-point shot that bounced off the rim multiple times before falling through with 7:26 remaining.

The Gators have covered the spread in four straight neutral-site games and 5-1 ATS in their last six games against a winning team. Florida needs to win with defense, but I think that will be a challenge against Auburn.

"The second half, they got a little more physical with our guys", Anderson said. "But the bottom line is we didn't win enough to get into the NCAA Tournament".

"We were fortunate", Pearl said.

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Reid hit two 3-pointers in the final minute to tie it at 70 and again at 73 with 13.2 seconds left.

The eighth-seeded Gators (19-14) entered Friday firmly on the bubble as one of the last teams either in or out of the field of 68 depending on your bracketology of choice. "We couldn't execute. We shot ourselves in the foot down the stretch".

It's never been in doubt that the Seminoles were going to be heading back to the 68 team field - this is a team that lost just one none conference game and has won 14 of their last 16 games that included a spot in the ACC Championship game for just the third time in program history (with the two losses coming against teams that may end up as number one seeds). "Some of the shots, we settled for most of the time". "I thought that we made a few defensive mistakes, but we were pretty good defensively".

Florida, which has won back-to-back games in Nashville after closing the regular season on a three-game skid, struggled on the perimeter and defensively in a 76-62 loss at Auburn on February 5 in the lone meeting between the teams.

An assist from Keyontae Johnson put Nembhard in position to sink a jumper from deep to bring the Gators up by three with one second on the clock. Arkansas sophomore forward Daniel Gafford (15 points, 6 rebounds). Meanwhile, Florida was held to 10-of-29 shooting (34.5 percent) including 2-of-15 from three-point range.

SC waits to learn whether it gets an NIT invitation.