PORTLAND – There were too many turning points to count and no shortage of clutch shots, heroic individual efforts and heart-stopping drama.
It basically turned into a game of can-you-top-this?
Florida’s Jalen Hudson, Chris Chiozza and KeVaughn Allen topped them all. The Gators guards combined for all 16 points in the second overtime as the seventh-ranked Florida outlasted No. 17 Gonzaga 111-105 Saturday in the PK80 tournament at the Moda Center.
The Gators (5-0) advanced to Sunday’s championship game of the Motion Bracket. They’ll face No. 1 Duke on Sunday night. Gonzaga (4-1) will take on Texas in the third-place game Sunday morning at 10 at the Moda Center.
Momentum changed sides throughout, but it finally looked to be Gonzaga’s side after a Josh Perkins’ 3-pointer put the Zags up 73-69 with 3 minutes, 14 seconds left in regulation.
Florida had other ideas. Hudson, a serious thorn in Gonzaga’s side after a quiet first half, buried a 3 and Chiozza added a pair of free throws to return the lead to Florida, 76-75, with 1:06 left.
Perkins delivered a number of clutch plays in the second half, including a lefty layup while being fouled. His three-point play gave GU a 78-76 advantage that was wiped out when Allen sped down the lane for a layup in traffic with 29 seconds left.
Gonzaga’s final play resulted in a tough, fallaway jumper by Silas Melson that came up short.
The first overtime, somehow, produced even more unbelievable theater. Johnathan Williams’ jump hook with 12 seconds left gave Gonzaga a 93-92 lead. Chiozza responded with a three-point play, penetrating for a layup while being fouled.
Then it was Silas Melson’s turn. The Portland native curled in a left-handed layup – tying the score at 95 – and was fouled by Keith Stone. He misfired on the free throw with 1.8 ticks remaining.
Of course, there was more. Florida traveled and GU had 0.7 seconds to work with. Melson got a pretty good look from the right wing, but the ball bounced off the iron.
The second overtime was more of the same. Gonzaga went with a makeshift lineup after Perkins and Killian Tillie fouled out. The Gators quickly moved in front 106-99 on three 3-pointers, two by Hudson and one by Chiozza.
Gonzaga pulled within four on a couple of occasions, but Allen sealed it with late free throws.
Williams was unstoppable at times, pouring in a career-high 39 points to go with 12 rebounds. Perkins and Tillie each had 17 and Kispert added 15.
Hudson led the Gators with 35 points, Chiozza added 26 and Allen 23.
Williams scored all the points in an 8-0 run that put GU on top 27-23 and brought a pro-Zags crowd to its feet. Kispert polished off a dominating 8-minute stretch with two drives to the rim for easy layups and a 36-29 lead.
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