A shot that went up just before the buzzer sounded and through the rim after it sounded gave Florida a hard-fought 71-68 win in the championship game of the Fort Myers Tip-off classic.
Florida’s Tyree Applebee had made just one of his nine shot attempts from the field but with the score tied at 68 and time running out Applebee launched from long range as the clock was expiring. His shot found the mark to give Florida the win over OSU and the tournament championship.
The Gators had clawed their way back into the game after having been down by 10 points at 47-37 about 13 minutes into the second half. Florida used a pressure defense to create 18 Buckeye turnovers then scored 22 points off those turnovers.
On the offensive end Forida relentlessly took the ball to the rim to score, and when they didn’t score baskets they drew fouls. The Gators shot 33 free throws and made 23 of them. By comparison OSU shot 20 free throws and made 13. OSU’s baseline players were particularly suseptible to fouls. Both Zed Key and Kyle Young fouled out and E.J. Liddell played with four fouls down the stretch. The turnovers, free throw discrepancy and loss of two big men gave Florida the advantage down the stretch and the Gators took full advantage for the win.
Phlandrous Fleming led Florida with 19 points. Nine of those points came at the free throw line on nine of ten shooting from the stripe. OSU’s E.J. Liddell led all scorers with 23 points.