Gators avoid choke job as Florida basketball prevails in overtime over Georgia

Jan 27, 2024; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators guard Zyon Pullin (0) looks to dribble at
Jan 27, 2024; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators guard Zyon Pullin (0) looks to dribble at / Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

For 35 minutes, it looked like Florida basketball was going to cruise over Georgia and send Mid Major Mike White back to Athens with a reminder of why he wasn't the man to lead Florida to the mountaintop.

But Todd Golden said "Not so fast my friend" as the Gators tried to give away a game that would have almost derailed the season for the Gators.

In the end, Florida held on the win in overtime in a game that left Gator fans more frustrated that exulted.

Florida Basketball: Almost Blew It

There is the phrase "A win is a win," and ultimately the Gators won 102-98 in overtime. But witnessing the near collapse in real time didn't feel like a convincing statement for Florida.

When Alex Condon made a layup with 12:34 left in the second half, Florida was up but 21 points.

Even as Georgia tried to claw back, two Micah Handlogten made two free throws with 5:35 left, Florida still had a 14 point lead. And a made layup by Walter Clayton with with 2:59 left had the Gators still up by 10 points.

A three by Georgia, two free throws, another three, and a layup tied the score up at 85-85 while Florida couldn't execute their own offensive sets, leading to late and desperate shots that couldn't find the basket.

Georgia even had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but a steal by Will Richard, followed by a near miss on the other side sent a game once in the bag into overtime.

The Gators were able to settle down after the collapse and Richard put in a layup with 55 seconds left to give Florida a seven point lead that this time they were able to hold on to.

The end result moves Florida to 14-7 overall, 4-3 in SEC play, and concludes a three game stretch of game the Gators had to win to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. Next up is a chance at redemption as the Gators will travel to Lexington to take on Kentucky on Wednesday.