Florida Basketball: Even in victory, the 2nd half keeps being a sore spot for Gators

Florida is now 173rd in second half scoring margin

Feb 13, 2024; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators head coach Todd Golden screams towards his
Feb 13, 2024; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators head coach Todd Golden screams towards his / Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

It was supposed to be a night of celebration for Florida Basketball. After clobbering Auburn to plant themselves firmly on the safe side of the NCAA Tournament bubble, the Gators came out last night and looked like they had firmly turned a corner under Todd Golden.

But as has been the case all season, Florida struggled to seal the deal and what was once a party turned into a giant exhale for the Gators.

Florida Basketball: Always Be Closing

When Walter Clayton hit a three pointer with 15 minutes left to put the Gators up by 20, the accolades and back patting on X was out in full force. Sure Florida has had second half struggles all season, but this time felt different.

Except it wasn't.

In a turn of events very similar to what happened against Georgia, Florida was still up by 10 with 5:17 left after a Zyon Pullin basket. But as the intensity ramps up at the end of games, Florida has struggled to run meaningful sets and wind up resulting to too much one on one ball.

It opened the door for LSU to go on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes and all of a sudden the game was tied at 78 with 90 seconds left.

And Florida didn't exactly flourish in those 90 seconds, rather they survived. Florida missed two free throws down the stretch and had to survive a missed floater in the paint from LSU to walk out the 82-80 winner.

For a team that is a projected eight seed in the NCAA Tournament and are ranked around 30th in various computer rankings, Florida's second half scoring margin is a train wreck.

The Gators are ranked 173rd in the second half scoring margin this season. When looking at everyone's last three games, Florida is 315th in second half scoring margin.

This is the same squad that is 15th in the country in first half scoring margin.

If Golden and crew hope to make any kind of run in March, they have to be better at closing games out. They got away with it against LSU. Their fate might not be so kind against better opposition.