After winning three overtime games on the road in Southeastern Conference play, the LSU men’s basketball team ran out of magic Wednesday night.
Forced into its fifth overtime contest of the season, the Tigers couldn’t keep up with Florida’s KeVaughn Allen in the extra five-minute session in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
After scoring just nine points in regulation, all of them in the second half, Allen dropped in 12 of Florida’s 18 points in overtime and finished with a game-high 21 to lead his team to an 82-77 upset of No. 13 LSU.
Florida (15-11, 7-6 SEC) actually gave LSU (21-5, 11-2) an opportunity to win in regulation when the Gators were whistled for a shot-clock violation with 5.7 seconds left.
However, Tremont Waters’ lengthy 3-point field-goal attempt at the buzzer was way off the mark, and the teams headed to overtime tied at 64.
“At the end, we didn’t execute,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “In overtime, they hit some really tough shots. We gave ourselves a chance, but we just weren’t able to execute.”
This is the end. Or at least how the end will come for the LSU basketball team if the Tigers don’t find a way to shield themselves from teams …
It was just the second loss for LSU in its past 16 games, and it dropped the Tigers into a second-place tie in the SEC race with Kentucky, which defeated Missouri on Tuesday night.
Both teams are one game behind Tennessee (24-2, 12-1). LSU hosts the Volunteers at 11 a.m. Sunday in the PMAC for what is still one of the biggest games in the SEC this season.
Wade called the loss, its second home SEC defeat of the season, "embarrassing."
"I feel terrible for our fans," Wade said, "people who work and put their money to come watch us play. It's sickening to me. Sickening. Absolutely sickening."
As for Wednesday's game, in the end, Florida’s slower pace hurt LSU and its up-tempo attack.
Going into the game, the Gators ranked next-to-last in the SEC in scoring offense at 68.4 points a game, while the Tigers were second in averaging 82.9 per game.
“We could never get in a rhythm tonight,” Wade said. “The game was played at Florida’s pace the whole night and we never could get it going. Florida was just able to impose their will and their style of play on us.”
LSU had chalked up three road overtime wins at Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi State before it came to a sudden end Wednesday.
Waters hit one of two free throws just 7 seconds into overtime to give LSU its final lead at 65-64 before Allen put Florida back in front 35 seconds later with a jumper in the lane.
The Tigers tied the game twice in the next 94 seconds, the eighth and ninth ties since the 14:22 mark of the second half, before Allen took over.
He buried a 3-pointer with 2:03 to play, then stole the ball from LSU’s Naz Reid underneath the Tigers’ basket and turned the takeaway into another shot from beyond the arc for a 76-70 lead with 1:10 left.
Allen also hit four free throws in the final 48 seconds as LSU tried to fight back, but the Tigers got no closer than three at 80-77 on a 3-pointer by Waters with 21 seconds remaining.
After a timeout by Wade, Javonte Smart stole an Allen pass and quickly got the ball to Waters, whose 3-point attempt, which would have tied the game with 10 seconds to play, bounced harmlessly off the rim.
LSU loses to Florida in overtime, Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. The Gators defeated…
Allen scored his first points on a 3-pointer just 85 seconds into the second half, which stretched Florida’s two-point halftime lead to seven at 40-33.
It was a sign of things to come for LSU as he was 6 of 9 in the second half — including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.
“We gave him a free, open look to start the second half,” Wade said. “After he saw the ball go in, he made some tough shots. He’s a very good ballplayer.”
Five Tigers scored in double figures in the loss, led by Skylar Mays' 18. Reid added 16 points and had a career-high 15 rebounds.
Waters was held to just 10 points on a 3-of-12 shooting night. The 10 points accounted for his lowest output in 15 games.
Kavell Bigby-Williams and Marlon Taylor also had 10 points each.
In addition to Allen’s 21 points, Florida got 15 points each from Jalen Hudson and Noah Locke and 10 points from Kevarrius Hayes.
Mays said Florida simply wanted the game more than LSU did.
“They came out more desperate, and you could tell in the first few minutes of the game that it was going to be a street fight,” Mays said. “Credit to them, they played harder than us.
"They got all the 50-50 balls, and when things go like that, it’s hard to win.”