With 3 seconds left in what had been a wild and entertaining 2nd half, the Noles were facing overtime with the Gators. FSU had one last chance, but couldn't get a good look off of the inbounds play. Devon Bookert launched a contested three from the corner which came up well short. But Gator senior Jacob Kurtz tried to grab the errant shot and, well, things didn't exactly go as he planned.
Instead of grabbing the rebound, he tipped the ball in. Noles win.
The game was about what we had expected. With FSU's shooting woes, we figured on a low scoring affair versus the Gators elite defense. Sure enough, 18 minutes into the game, FSU had 17 points. But with nine points in the final two minutes of the half, they somehow found themselves with the lead, and more importantly figured out how to score some points.
The 2nd half was much more free flowing, and frankly, way more entertaining. FSU began with a run to stretch the lead to six, but the Gators stormed back and took a 3-point lead of their own. Another Noles run put FSU up seven with seven minutes left.
UF, however, wouldn't go away. Fueled by three of their four 5* players, the Gators scored on five straight possessions to tie the game with four to play. The final segment got off to an auspicious start when Montay Brandon missed both free throws. Then defensive stops led to an Xavier Rathan-Mayes jumper and a Devon Bookert 3-pointer. Dorian Finney-Smith and Bookert traded jumpers. Kasey Hill and Montay traded free throws. And then the Gators scored the next five.
Three seconds were left on the clock.
When the season is over this game might not mean anything. Or it could be the point that a young FSU team learning to play without their one star in Aaron Thomas figured out how to play together. FSU has now won four straight and any fears that this team would lay down after early season adversity have been put to bed. And it happened on two points that weren't credited to anyone. Opponent tip ins are classified as a "team basket," which somehow seems fitting.
Montay Brandon led all scorers with 17 points. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Devon Bookert had 12 points and five rebounds. And Boris Bojanovsky had 10 points, playing a couple short stretches of inspired basketball.
FSU now travels to play at Mississippi State on Friday.