The eighth-ranked Arizona Wildcats men's basketball team stunned the fifth-ranked Florida Gators by a final margin of 65-64.
Arizona rode the magic of its football team from earlier in the day to pull out an improbable comeback, upset win over the Gators in the final seconds of the game.
The Wildcats football team managed an improbable last-minute comeback over Nevada earlier in the day to win the New Mexico Bowl.
The Gators led by as many as 11 points, but the Wildcats kept clawing their way back in the game.
Florida trailed for just 1:18 total in this one. Arizona led, 7-5, early in the game before losing the lead with 17:31 remaining in the first half. The Gators wouldn’t surrender the lead again until the final moments of the game.
Florida busted out an 11-2 run to go up by seven points and never looked back. The Wildcats fought back, though, making several runs of their own throughout the first half.
After Florida broke out another big run, this time 10-2 in its favor, Arizona answered with a 10-2 run of its own to close the gap to 32-29 at halftime.
The second half saw much of the same from these two top programs.
Florida burst out to a 51-41 advantage with nine minutes gone by in the half. Then, Arizona stormed back with another big run.
The Wildcats brought the lead to within three points down the stretch until Scottie Wilbekin hit a three-pointer to give Florida a 64-58 lead with 2:44 remaining in the game.
That's how things stood until Arizona scored five straight to battle back to within one point with 26.1 to play. After Florida missed a free throw, Mark Lyons drove into the paint and dropped a nice touch layup off the glass to put the Wildcats on top.
Florida decided not to call a timeout and got trapped in the backcourt, forcing it to launch a highly contested and deep three-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
An Arizona team escaped for the second time on Dec. 15 with an impressive final two minutes of play.
Andy Glockner of SI.com pointed out the difference in the two teams early on:
I was very wary of Arizona's youth and lack of PG play in this one, and it's panning out that way so far. Florida's all growns up.— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) December 16, 2012
John Marshall of the Associated Press broke down the halftime numbers:
Florida didn't score over the final 3:06, hit 12 of 33 shots. Arizona was 9 of 22— John Marshall (@jmarshallap) December 16, 2012
VIDEO HIGHLIGHT Frantic Arizona comeback now under way at McKale too. 3 point game at halftime. Here's a ta... on.pac-12.org/12gEbNI— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) December 16, 2012
Chris Harry of GatorZone.com broke down the shooting at the midway point of the second half:
Dustin Fox of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland said it best after the Wildcats stormed back late in the game:
The Wildcats will return home on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to take on the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. The Golden Eagles are 5-4 on the year.
Florida will have little time to soak in the disappointment of this defeat. The Gators take on the Southeastern Louisiana Lions in Gainesville on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The Lions have just one win on the season.
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