There isn’t a lot of happiness over at SB Nation’s Florida blog, Alligator Army, after this loss.
College basketball lends itself to these upsets, but they don’t happen because the underdog is a better team. Florida fans thought that after two years, the garbage was thrown out, and these guys knew that the names on the jerseys guaranteed them nothing. Not so. As it is, we’re all dumbfounded. And something’s got to change quickly. Otherwise, these boys will get coal in their stockings and a third straight trip to the NIT.
December 22 - Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - DeAndre Hersey's basket with 1.8 seconds to play gave South Alabama a 67-66 win over 18th-ranked Florida at Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
Tim Williams had a game-high 21 points and added seven rebounds while Hersey finished with seven points and five boards for the Jaguars (9-4), who have won two of their last three.
Alex Tyus netted 16 points and grabbed seven boards while Kenny Boynton had 14 points for the Gators (8-3), who have dropped their past three games after an unblemished start to the season.
With Florida holding a 66-63 lead, Williams hit two free throws to make it a one-point game with 55 seconds to play. Chandler Parsons followed with a missed jumper on the Gators' end and South Alabama called timeout with 12.7 to play.
After the inbounds, Williams drove the lane and attempted a layup, but it hit off the rim. Hersey, though, came up with the offensive board and put the ball in with 1.8 seconds left.
Erving Walker's desperation three-pointer from just before mid-court fell short as South Alabama gained the upset.
The score was tied at 43 starting the second half and the close play continued over the final 20 minutes.
Holding a one-point lead, the Jaguars got a jumper from Williams followed by a three-pointer from Hersey for a 60-54 lead with under nine minutes to play.
After Gary Redus made a free throw for a seven-point advantage, Tyus slammed for two, Vernon Macklin followed with a three-point play and Tyus tied the game with two from the line with five minutes to play.
Williams then hit a jumper, but Parsons made 5-of-6 from the line for the game's only points over the next two minutes for a 66-63 Florida lead.
The biggest lead of the first half was a six-point advantage for South Alabama when Williams hit a three-pointer with 11 1/2 minutes to play.
Florida was able to cut the deficit and take the lead after Walker's layup with 5 1/2 minutes to play made it a 32-30 contest.
The teams exchanged baskets from there to end in a tie entering the second half.
Florida hosts American University next Monday...South Alabama plays at FIU on New Year's Eve...Each team has won twice in the all-time series...Macklin finished the game with 13 points and seven boards for Florida.