1. Archive

Top-ranked Gators toppled in OT

Published Nov. 29, 2006

Foul trouble and poise by youthful Kansas helped end the No. 1 Florida Gators' school-record 17-game winning streak.

Just 10 days after losing to Oral Roberts - and 24 hours after struggling to beat Ball State - the 10th-ranked Jayhawks defeated the Gators 82-80 in overtime in the Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday night. It was Florida's first big test since it won the national championship.

Freshman Darrell Arthur scored six of his 19 points in overtime, Julian Wright had a career-high 21 and the Jayhawks played sterling defense.

Florida's Corey Brewer missed an open 3-pointer at the overtime buzzer.

Joakim Noah scored 17 and forced overtime with a tip-in with four seconds left, but Florida (6-1) couldn't score in the final 1:22 - and couldn't overcome constant foul trouble in its first loss since regular-season SEC play last winter.

Florida took an 80-77 lead in overtime on Taurean Green's 3-pointer, but Arthur hit two free throws. After a turnover when Green dribbled into a double-team, Brandon Rush made a go-ahead layup with 26 seconds left.

Russell Robinson hit a free throw with 4.7 seconds left, and Brewer was short on a 3-pointer from the corner.

Kansas (5-1) beat a No. 1 team for the sixth time in school history and ended the Gators' 26-game winning streak against non-conference opponents.

Green scored 25 and Lee Humphrey hit two overtime 3-pointers among his 16 points, but the Gators never found their flow after early foul trouble. Al Horford had nine points and eight rebounds before fouling out in overtime.

"When we got into foul trouble, we couldn't get into a flow," Noah said. "In the second half we picked it up energy-wise, but we couldn't get there."

Kansas exploited one of Florida's few perceived weaknesses: defending off the dribble. With ball movement and none of the indecision of their previous efforts this season, the Jayhawks dissected the Gators' perimeter defense.

After leading for most of regulation, the Jayhawks seemed safe when Robinson hit two free throws for a 70-66 lead with 16.9 seconds left. But Brewer hit a layup and was fouled. He rebounded his missed free throw, setting up Green's missed 3-pointer that was tipped in by Noah, who leaped above a crowd to force overtime.

Roughly 80 percent of the sellout crowd in the noisy 8,500-seat arena wore Jayhawks blue and filled the air with Kansas chants. Florida coach Billy Donovan knew his club would be playing in Lawrence, Nevada.

"What made us special last year was that we were a great team," Donovan said. "We got a little bit away from our team concept today. I still believe our margin for error is very, very small unless we play as a team."

Scouts representing every NBA team watched standout performances by each of the half-dozen potential lottery picks on the floor.


Up next

UF vs. Southern, Tuesday, 7 p.m., O'Connell Center, Gainesville. TV: Sun Sports