Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators stun No. 2 Michigan State Spartans 77-74

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Florida craves more than another NIT appearance this season. It aspires to wildly mob each other on its way to the NCAA Tournament, like how it celebrated after upsetting No. 2 Michigan State.

Erving Walker made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:56 left as the Gators knocked off the Spartans 77-74 Friday in the semifinals of the Legends Classic.

"I'm just so happy these guys could experience a night like tonight against a terrific team," said coach Billy Donovan, who led the Gators to national titles in 2006 and 2007 before NIT appearances the past two seasons.

For a program known for producing gaudy numbers under coach Tom Izzo — five Final Four appearances since 1999 — the Spartans (4-1) had some ugly ones in their first loss.

They hacked the Gators with bad fouls down the stretch, committed 23 turnovers and missed 8 of 10 3-point attempts.

"I'm shocked we were even in the game the way we turned it over," Izzo said. "I can't really say we weren't ready to play, because we were."

Walker finished with 12 points and seven assists for the Gators (5-0), who face Rutgers in tonight's championship game. He made his 3 from beyond NBA range in front of Florida's bench for a 72-71 lead.

"We just wanted to prove to people we could be mentioned in the same breath as (Michigan State)," Walker said.

"I think we found out a lot more about us," Donovan said. "We have a chance to really improve and grow from this. The guys in the locker rooms are the ones who really did all the work."

Florida 77

No. 2 Mich. St. 74


Florida vs. Rutgers

When/where: 8; Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

TV/radio: Sun Sports;


Records: Florida 4-1;

Rutgers 3-1

Notable: This is the title game of the Legends Classic. … The Knights beat UMass 83-75 in the other semi. Mike Rosario scored 22 points, and they made 8 of 14 3-point tries. … The Knights' loss came against Vermont.

Times staff

Florida Gators stun No. 2 Michigan State Spartans 77-74 11/27/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 28, 2009 12:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help


    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play


    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.