Florida basketball: Gators back in the win column

Thursday afternoon Florida basketball faced off against Saint Joesph in the Charleston Classic as the Gators pull out a close one, 70-62.

Florida basketball finally got back into the win column after two straight losses to in-state rival Florida State and UConn on the road.

Gators opened the game with a relieving barrage of three-pointers that put them ahead and at one point their lead had swelled to 18.

Things turned for Florida basketball when Kerry Blackshear Jr. was ejected and Andrew Nembhard was sent to the bench with foul trouble and the Hawks brought it back to a 2-point game.

But the Gators were able to get the stops they needed in the clutch to hold on for the much-needed victory.

Gators lead the Hawks at the half. There was an expectation that the Gators would expand their lead in the second half. But, as has been tradition this season, the Gators struggled to keep their foot on the gas and hold the leads they get.

Gators will move on to face the other in-state rival in the Miami Hurricanes at noon EST at TD Arena on the campus of the College of Charleston in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

The Hurricanes held off a tough Missouri State on the first day of the classic, beating the Bears 74-70.

On the other side of the bracket, Xavier ripped Towson, 73-51 and UConn continued its winnings ways by beating Buffalo, 79-68.

A Florida basketball win over Miami would put them in the championship game of the Charleston Classic where they would face the winner of Xavier-UConn at 8:30 p.m. Sunday. A loss against the Hurricanes puts the Gators in the third-place game against the loser of Xavier-UConn at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

As a side note, the field for the 2020 Charleston Classic was announced Friday and Florida basketball will not be in the field.

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The field for next season includes College of Charleston, Florida State, Houston, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Seton Hall, Tennessee and Virginia Commonwealth.