GAINESVILLE — When he addressed his team in the locker room shortly after Monday's overtime loss to Jacksonville, Florida coach Billy Donovan had a serious question for his No. 20 Gators.
"Who are you?"
About 36 hours after Florida upset then-No. 6 Kansas State 57-44 in the Orange Bowl Classic, the Gators returned to the O'Connell Center looking like a shell of that same team.
Florida was outhustled and ultimately outplayed, allowing the Dolphins to earn a 71-68 overtime win Monday afternoon. The loss stunned the Gators and ended a nine-game winning streak over Jacksonville.
"Coach D (after the game) wanted to know which team we're going to be," senior center Vernon Macklin said. "The team that plays hard against good teams or the team that comes out here and plays because of what we see on somebody's chest. We've got to play hard no matter who we're playing. We're playing for Florida, and we don't need to worry about the guys we're playing against."
Florida trailed 29-27 at the break after a first half in which it never seemed in synch. The Gators took a 56-49 lead with 6 minutes, 58 seconds remaining, then never scored from the field again in regulation. Florida went 10:48 (including into overtime) without a field goal.
Leading 61-59 with possession, UF senior forward Chandler Parsons had the ball stolen by forward Ayron Hardy, who dunked with 18 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 61.
The Gators had one last opportunity, but Erving Walker's jumper with time running out didn't go. Walker also missed the final shot in overtime.
JU scored first in overtime, then the teams battled back and forth. Dolphins guard Keith McDougald (18 points) hit four consecutive free throws in the final 31.8 seconds to seal the win.
The Gators outrebounded the Dolphins 48-31 and had 34 free-throw attempts (23 made) compared with 14 (eight made) for JU. But Florida shot 35 percent from the field and was 3-of-14 from 3-point range.
"We find a lot of ways to sabotage ourselves," Donovan said. "They were more of a team (Monday) than we were. Clearly, for the people that watched us play against Kansas State, (it was) two totally different teams. … We were totally ripe to be beat. I'm not sure we could have beat anybody (Monday). And that's not taking anything away from Jacksonville, because their kids did a great job."
Antonya English can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.