Florida Basketball overcomes fatigue and flips script to advance to SEC finals

Florida was down by 18 points before staging a comeback

Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA
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We have seen the script play out so many times for Florida Basketball this season, where the Gators go up by a huge margin only to let the lead slip away and set up a wild and unpredictable finish. On Saturday, that script was in effect as an 18-point lead showed up on the scoreboard before disappearing.

But in a case of call an ambulance but not for me, it wasn't the Gators blowing an 18-point lead. Rather it was Florida flipping the script with some unlikely bench scoring to advance to their first SEC Tournament final since 2014.

Florida Basketball: Only One Thing Left To Do

After playing past midnight against Alabama, it was predictable that Florida wasn't going to come out springy for a 3:30 tip against Texas A&M. The fatigue for Florida was evident early as the Gators immediately fell behind by seven points, and after staging a bit of a rally, the lead ballooned to 18 points with 5:20 left in the first half.

It was at this point the Denzel Aberdeen show took front and center stage. The sophomore from Orlando has been averaging just eight minutes a game this season and played 12 minutes against Alabama and none against Georgia.

At the 5:10 mark of the first half, Aberdeen checked in and single handily clawed the lead back for the Gators with an 11 point explosion that sent the Gators into the locker room down just eight.

That spark was all the Gators needed to get their legs underneath them, and by the time Aberdeen collected a steal and got it to Zyon Pullin, who collected the assist off a foul point play from Will Richard, the Gators were able to punch their ticket to the SEC Tournament finals.

Aberdeen finished the game with 20 points, a season high and more points than he and scored in his last ten games combined.

The Gators will face Auburn in the championship game. Florida won the only previous meeting between the two earlier this season 81-65.