Tyree Appleby, Florida edge Ohio State with last-second three

Gators win Ft. Myers Tip-Off Championship
Florida guard Tyree Appleby, center, reacts after hitting the game winning shot against Ohio...
Florida guard Tyree Appleby, center, reacts after hitting the game winning shot against Ohio State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)(Scott Audette | AP)
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 12:33 AM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Florida Gators Men’s basketball team overcame a 10-point, second half deficit to beat Ohio State 71-68 on a last-second three-pointer by Tyree Appleby to capture the Ft. Myers Tip-Off Championship.

This matchup between no. 23 Florida (5-0) and unranked Ohio State (4-2) featured two teams who both looked the part of worthy adversaries. Ohio State hit a buzz-beater of their own to knock off no. 21 Seton Hall, Monday night, to advance to the championship contest.

The Gators dominated Cal 80-60 to continue their impressive start to the season as they were blowing out opponents by an average of 21 points per game.

The first half of this game saw the two teams jockey back and forth for the lead. Ohio State raced out to an 11-4 advantage five minutes into action. The Buckeyes were 5/8 from the field.

But slowly, Florida mounted its comeback. Phlandrous Fleming, Colin Castleton, and Brandon McKissic kept their team in the game. Castleton was the only Gator starter in double figures. He put up 11 points on 4-9 shooting and added 13 rebounds. McKissic continued his poor shooting as he was just 2-8 but his lone three-pointer of the game helped the orange and blue rip off a 9-0 run with just over five minutes remaining before halftime to lead 22-17.

Fleming produced the best offensive night of any Gator. He came off the bench to score 19 points. He only made five shots from the floor, but sunk 9/10 free throws.

Right before intermission, Ohio State used a 9-2 run of its own to hold a 30-26 advantage. The final bucket of the half, however, belonged to Florida.

Myreon Jones threw up a three that hit the back of the iron, but teammate C.J. Felder snuck in the paint and threw down a two-handed slam as time expired to give momentum back to Florida.

The second half was all Buckeyes early. They used Gators turnovers to score quickly and balloon their lead all the way to 10.

But just like a mirror image, Florida continued to fight and not let the game get away.

Over the course of the final 13 minutes, the Gators sunk key free throws and a Jones three ball closed the gap to only trail 63-59.

After Zed Key made a pair of free throws to give the Buckeyes a slim, two-point edge, with 47 seconds left, Anthony Duruji made a quick-strike dunk to event he score with 36 seconds remaining.

The final play of the game came off an Ohio State miss. Jones got the rebound near the left wing of their own goal, and with the clock winding down inside 5 seconds hurled the ball ahead to Tyree Appleby, who took one dribble and pulled up from well beyond the three point line. Up until Appleby’s shot attempt, he was a paltry 1-9 from the field, including, going 0-2 from outside the arch.

When Appleby let the ball go, there was still just over a second remaining on the clock, but when the ball swished through the net, the buzzer sounded and the Gators had stunned the Buckeyes on a last-second shot.

Florida will return home and prepare for their next game against Troy University. That contest tips off at Sunday, Nov. 28 at noon, at the O’Connell Center.

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