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Gator rally falls a half-second short at LSU

Video review shows time ran out just before Florida’s tying layup.
Coach Mike White has Florida come off a big home win over Auburn on Saturday and lose 84-82 at LSU three days later.
Coach Mike White has Florida come off a big home win over Auburn on Saturday and lose 84-82 at LSU three days later. [ MATT STAMEY | AP ]
Published Jan. 22, 2020

BATON ROUGE, La. — Emmitt Williams scored 19, Skylar Mays capped an 18-point performance with two crucial free throws in the final 10 seconds, and LSU remained unbeaten in SEC play with an 84-82 victory over Florida on Tuesday night.

Keyontae Johnson had 16 points for Florida and briefly believed he’d forced overtime with a layup on a backdoor cut as time expired. But video review showed that the half-second on the clock when the ball was put in play ran out before the ball left Johnson’s hand.

LSU (14-4, 6-0) took a 79-69 lead with 1:20 to go.

Noah Locke also had 16 points for Florida (12-6, 4-2), which created a tense finish by scoring 13 points in the final 1:11 on Andrew Nembhard’s layup, Locke’s 3, two 3s by Johnson and a layup by Kerry Blackshear.

Nembhard and Blackshear each finished with 15 points.

The Gators shot 50 percent and hit 11 3s. But untimely turnovers — 12 in all — and defensive breakdowns did them in.

“We probably shot the ball more confidently late, more than the first 35 minutes, unfortunately,” Florida coach Mike White said. “We could have just packed it in out there, but our guys fought to the bitter end.”

The Tigers have won five straight by four or fewer points.

“We’ve got to keep it close,” Mays said with a relieved smile. “It’s worked for us, so why not stick with it.

“I’ve seen crazier things happen in my time here, but that was just a great game,” Mays continued, applauding the Gators’ effort. “Credit to them. They’re a quality team. They’re resilient, just like us. Luckily we were able to pull this one out.”

Next up for the Gators: A visit from No. 1-ranked Baylor in an SEC/Big 12 matchup at 8 p.m. Saturday at the O’Connell Center.

Kansas win ends with brawl

No. 3 Kansas’ 81-60 victory over Kansas State ended in a brawl. Players spilled off the Allen Fieldhouse floor and into a baseline seating area after Kansas big man Silvio De Sousa blocked a last-second layup by DaJuan Gordon then stood over him. De Sousa was dribbling out the clock when Gordon stole the ball.

The play happened close to the Kansas State bench. Wildcats players rushed to Gordon, and Kansas players left their bench.

The fracas spilled into the seating area behind press row, where spectators sit in folding chairs and some in wheelchairs. Punches were thrown. De Sousa picked up a stool but didn’t swing it.

It took both coaching staffs and security to separate the teams, who left for their locker rooms. But the players who were on the floor for the teams when the game ended had to return to the court. A technical foul had been called on De Sousa with one second remaining.

KU coach Bill Self said “there will be consequences. I’m not saying that both parties weren’t in the wrong, but I know we were in the wrong. It’s a sign of immaturity and selfishness more so than toughness.””

Self said he spoke to his players after the game and “relayed to them how selfish it was, how disappointed we are.”

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said he had told his team not to foul at the end.

“You win with class, you lose with class,” Weber said. “It’s probably my fault. I told them not to press, not to foul, to back off. But the kids are young guys. They want to play hard.’’

While Self said he didn’t agree with the steal and layup attempt, he did acknowledge that Kansas State was merely playing to the final whistle. “Silvio knew he was being defended,” Self said. “He took his ball, and certainly the way Silvio reacted to getting his ball taken, going and blocking his shot, that’s fair game. What transpired after that is what set everything off.”

While he won’t be alone, De Sousa is likely to receive the stiffest punishment from the incident — the latest chapter in a career that has brought embarrassment and frustration to Kansas. De Sousa’s name surfaced in the FBI probe into college basketball in October 2018, and that in part led to an NCAA investigation of Kansas. The school received a notice of allegations last September that outlined major violations in men’s basketball, levied a head coach responsibility charge against Self and alleged a lack of institutional control.

Those violations are being appealed and a decision is not expected until well after the season.

De Sousa was suspended last season for his role in the case, and he was supposed to sit out this season as well. But the school successfully appealed the decision, allowing the junior forward to return to the court.

Kansas improved to 15-3 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12, a game behind Baylor.

More Top 25 men

No. 8 Duke wasted no time putting an end to its losing streak. A barrage of 3-pointers early allowed the host Blue Devils to lead by as many as 29 points in the first half as they rolled to an 89-59 win over Miami. Duke (16-3, 6-2 ACC) won for the first time since Jan. 11. The Blue Devils lost 79-72 at Clemson on Jan. 14 and 79-73 at home to Louisville on Saturday to carry a two-game losing skid in to their game with Miami (10-8, 2-6). But the Hurricanes, who lost 95-62 to Duke in Coral Gables earlier this month, were again overmatched. … Saddiq Bey hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 and Jermaine Samuels had 20 points to lead No. 9 Villanova to a 76-61 win over No. 13 Butler. The host Wildcats (15-3, 5-1 Big East) methodically pulled away in the second half in a game in which neither team shot particularly well. … Ashton Hagans scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half and No. 15 Kentucky used a 14-4 run to beat visiting Georgia 89-79. The Wildcats (14-4, 5-1 SEC) had to work to put away the Bulldogs, who overcame missing 11 consecutive first-half shots and trailed 41-35 at halftime.