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November 29, 2013

Instant Analysis: Gators win nail-biter against 'Noles



There hasn't been drama like that in the O'Connell Center in quite a while. A sold-out crowd saw the Gators get Florida-Florida State rivalry weekend underway with a last-second 67-66 win for the No. 15 UF hoops team. Instant Analysis takes a look.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Dorian Finney-Smith collected a missed shot from Scottie Wilbekin, went up for the putback and was fouled. There were 1.3 seconds left, the game was tied at 66 and Florida fans erupted. He missed the first free throw, made the second and FSU barely missed a long-range prayer as time expired.

HE STOLE THE SHOW: Once again, it was Casey Prather who had to get the job done offensively. Prather was one of three Gators to shoot above 50 percent from the field (60 percent) and led the Gators in scoring with 19 points. He went 7 for 9 from the free-throw line and added four rebounds and one assist while fighting foul trouble.

THE STAT DOESN'T LIE: FSU doesn't pretend to be a 3-point shooting team and it showed when the Seminoles needed points late. In a game where points are somewhat scarce, a handful of long-range jumpers can make all the difference. They did just that for Florida. The Gators didn't shoot unusually well from beyond the arc (37.5 percent percent) but they made shots when they were needed, led by Michael Frazier II with five 3-pointers. The Seminoles went 2 for 10.

WHAT A PLAY: Scottie Wilbekin showed why he has been missed a point guard. Prather showed why he is Gainesville's resident athletic freak. The O'Dome erupted. Just watch highlights and keep an eye out for the alley-oop the two put together with 3:47 left in the game.

THE BOTTOM LINE: It wasn't exactly a recital of offensive prowess. Most of the evening, the officials permitted an extremely physical style of play for both teams especially in the paint. The result was a shoddy night of shooting for both teams. The Gators opened the game 3 of 17 from the field and went on to shoot 38.3 percent in the entire game. Two of Florida's most prominent offensive players - Wilbekin and Finney-Smith - combined to shoot 4 for 24 from the field. The Semnioles scored 31 points in the first half, or nine points less than FSU's football team has averaged in the first halves of its last three games.


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