DALLAS — Florida survived its first test in the NCAA Tournament, handling business against St. Bonaventure in first-round action.
Now the No.6-seeded Gators (21-12) meet No. 3 Texas Tech (25-9) at American Airlines Center with a Sweet 16 berth on the line.
Stay here for live updates, scores and analysis.
Florida-Texas Tech live updates, score
Florida 48, Texas Tech 48, 11:48, second half: We’re all tied up here and Florida calls timeout. That makes 9 lead changes and 7 ties so far. This matchup is living up to most expectations, but the Chris Chiozza foul situation is a wrinkle nobody could have expected. Three of his four fouls have come in the second half and he continues to sit.
Florida 45, Texas Tech 43, 12:45, second half: Florida point guard Chris Chiozza was whistled for his fourth personal foul while chasing a loose ball. He had just checked back into the game, but now he heads back to the bench. Will be interesting to see how long coach Mike White chooses to sit his floor leader.
Florida 43, Texas Tech 40, 15:39, second half: Well, the Gators needed an answer and they got it in a big way with eight straight points following that early timeout. Jalen Hudson drained an open 3-pointer, Keith Stone scored on a tip-in and Hudson made a nice drive to the basket while drawing a foul and hitting the free throw. Hudson is already up to 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Texas Tech 40, Florida 35, 17:46, second half: Texas Tech coach Chris Beard was fired up, out on the court clenching his fists in excitement as the Red Raiders opened the second half on an 8-2 run and forced Florida to call a quick timeout. The Gators look disjointed right now. Not much flow on the offensive end, with the only points so far this half coming on a Jalen Hudson tip in off his own miss. This goes without saying, but this is a hugely pivotal moment for Florida. Can’t let Texas Tech get too much momentum with this raucous crowd behind them.
Florida 33, Texas Tech 32, halftime: Egor Koulechov toss in a putback at the buzzer to send the Gators into halftime with the lead. There were 7 lead changes and 5 ties in that half. Koulechov leads Florida with 10 points, Jalen Hudson has 8 and Chris Chiozza has 7. It was a quiet half for KeVaughn Allen, who hit 1 of 3 shots for 2 points.
Florida managed to get up by 7, but it could create any real separation against Texas Tech. The crowd support for the Red Raiders has been as loud as expected, and Keenan Evans has been good as usual with 8 points.
Texas Tech came in as a 1.5-point favorite, and I too thought this was going to be a very tight matchup. That’s proven out through the first half, and this one could well come down to the final possession.
Although, Florida needs to find its offensive rhythm again. After making 11 of its first 16 shots, the Gators hit just 3 of their final 14 in the half.
Texas Tech 29, Florida 29, 4:04, 1st half: This place reached peak volume for the first time as Texas Tech’s Jerrett Culver drained a 3-pointer for the Red Raiders’ first lead in more than 8 minutes. He followed with a layup on the next possession to make it a 3-point lead and cap a 10-0 run, but an Egor Koulechov layup and a Jalen Hudson free throw tied it back up. Gators responded quickly to make sure Texas Tech didn’t really gain some momentum with that scoring sequence and the loud fan response.
Florida 26, Texas Tech 22, 7:42, 1st half: Florida is shooting an incredible 61.1 percent (11 of 18) so far, but Texas Tech has kept this one tight. Good sign for the Gators is that Chris Chiozza (7 points), Egor Koulechov (6) and Jalen Hudson (5) have all had early success. KeVaughn Allen is quiet with just 1 shot so far, but when three of those four are clicking it usually bodes well for Florida.
Florida 23, Texas Tech 18, 10:32, 1st half: Chris Chiozza rattled in a 3-pointer as things are breaking right for the Gators so far. Chiozza has hit all three of his shots for a game-high 7 points.
Florida 18, Texas Tech 12, 13:04, 1st half: Great momentum sequence for Florida as Egor Koulechov drains a long 3-pointer, KeVaughn Allen blocks a shot and takes it all the way for a fastbreak layup and Keith Stone makes a layup. It has been a back and forth game so far, as it could be the whole 40 minutes with these teams.
Florida 9, Texas Tech 9, 15:57, 1st half: Good pace to the game so far. Texas Tech has a reputation for slowing teams down, and Florida can get bogged down in its halfcourt offense. But that hasn’t been the case in the early going. Jalen Hudson has 5 quick points after scoring 14 in the second half on Thursday.
Florida-Texas Tech game time, information
The game is set to tip off at 8:40 p.m. ET Saturday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The game will air on TNT with Spero Dedes on the play-by-play call, Steve Smith and Len Elmore as the analysts and Ros Gold-Onwude as the in-game reporter. The game can be streamed online here.
Florida-Texas Tech preview
Texas Tech trailed by as many as 8 points early in the second half Thursday against Stephen F. Austin before rallying for a 70-60 win.
As he has most of the season, Keenan Evans led the way with 23 points while Zhaire Smith added 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Evans, a senior guard, leads the team in scoring at 17.5 points per game.
Florida, meanwhile, was tied at 21-21 in the final minutes of the first half with St. Bonaventure before asserting control.
The Gators have been an inconsistent team much of this season, but they’ve now won four of their last five games and looked confident down the stretch Thursday night.
They are led by their four veteran guards in Jalen Hudson (15.3 PPG), Koulechov (13.8 PPG), Chris Chiozza (11.1 PPG, 6.2 assists per game) and KeVaughn Allen (11.1 PPG).
Chiozza had 11 assists with no turnovers Thursday, becoming the first player since 2011 and the sixth over the last 20 NCAA Tournaments to have a turnover-free game while dishing at least 11 assists.
Here’s a collection of SEC Country’s pregame coverage so far:
- Gators ready for both Texas Tech and pro-Red Raiders crowd
- Gators hoping to sustain their best version in second-round NCAA Tourney clash
- Former Florida guard Brandone Francis a familiar face on Texas Tech bench
- Kevarrius Hayes brings comic relief to locker room while keeping Gators loose at NCAA Tournament
- Egor Koulechov’s second taste of NCAA Tournament much better than the first
The post Florida-Texas Tech: Live updates, score, analysis from NCAA Tournament (March 17, 2018) appeared first on SEC Country.
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