Auburn-Florida SEC semifinal ends with no-call controversy

Will Wade was suspended indefinitely last week and his status for the rest of the season remains unclear

AP Will Wade was suspended indefinitely last week and his status for the rest of the season remains unclear

I'm glad he hit it.

"I thought Jared Harper was fantastic", Florida coach Mike White said.

Although they were taking on the top-seeded Tigers, UF had confidence against LSU after taking them to overtimes in both their regular season matchups, winning one of those games. LSU quickly squashed that idea with a statement noting Wade will remain suspended until he speaks to school officials about the reports of an Federal Bureau of Investigation wiretap that led to his suspension March 8, noting Wade has yet to "deny any wrongdoing to us or publicly".

The Tigers accepted their regular-season-champion trophy from SEC commissioner Greg Sankey before tipoff. Then LSU led 35-25 at halftime and as much as 42-29 with 16:52 left.

Florida clawed back into the game by hitting eight straight shots and 10 of 11.

Nembhard, left, of Aurora, Ont., hugs teammate Jalen Hudson after hitting the game-winner. Harper made the first free throw, but missed the second with six seconds left, which allowed the Gators to get off a long 3-pointer at the buzzer that fell short. After going scoreless in the first half, Bryce Brown scored 11 after the break including three key 3-pointers. LSU led 63-60 when Keyontae Johnson hit a 3-pointer, officials called a foul on LSU and the LSU bench was also assessed a technical for arguing.

The game went back and forth down the stretch, and was tied 73-all with time quickly winding down. "In my head I was thinking what Coach White said: Play off two feet".

Suffice it to say Gafford listened to those opinions in the latter camp, the people who thought he had some work left to do before he should even consider the National Basketball Association.

Nembhard, a Montverde Academy alum, had no time to do more than catch and shoot. I'm going to stick with the Tigers to bang out a cover here.

Nembhard led the way for Florida, not just with the dagger, but also in scoring (20 points) and assists (6) in one of his most complete showings as a Gator.

Naz Reid had a quick response for LSU as his dunk gave his team the lead once again.

Harper finished with a game-high 20 points with 16 coming in the first half.

The freshman guard was held out of LSU's win over Vanderbilt to close the regular season and didn't learn until about 9:45 a.m. Friday that he could play again. "I had nothing to do with that, said Smart when asked if he had knowledge of the offer discussed in the wiretap. I say yes", SC coach Frank Martin said. They took a total of 28 three-point shots to just 33 from inside the arc. But the Gators kept shooting 3s and went 6 of 13 in the second half. LSU was whistled for 24 fouls, Florida 10. Brown missed all four of his 3-point attempts in the first half before making 3 of 5 in the second.

"At this point, [to play] another basketball game, we'd be grateful", Gafford said. "If he felt like he could go by, go by, we had a backside rebound. I'll tell you what, he's got courage, he's not afraid of the moment, he's our leader, he makes other guys better and he's got a big chip on his shoulder".

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