Wednesday evening looked to be a quiet night in men's college basketball, as just two teams ranked in the AP Top 25 poll were in action. But then Florida and Seton Hall reminded us of one simple truth.
This is March.
The unranked Gators took No. 10 LSU to overtime in Gainesville, but fell short of an upset, as the Tigers won 79-78.
But in Newark, New Jersey, Seton Hall finished the game on an 18-0 run to take an upset win over No. 16 Marquette, 73-64. It’s the third straight loss for the Golden Eagles, who missed their last 10 shots.
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Florida-LSU had a wild finish
A Jalen Hudson 3-pointer rattled in to give Florida a two-point advantage with 6.2 seconds left in regulation, but LSU's Tremont Waters raced to the other end of the floor, tying the game on a lay-up with a second to spare.
Former Hokies guard Jalen Hudson hits a go ahead 3 with 7 seconds to go over No. 10 LSU. nuts. pic.twitter.com/6BBrKHdwkl— Jordan Hutchinson (@JHutchinsonVT) March 7, 2019
In overtime, LSU jumped back in the driver's seat with a jumper from Javonte Smart and a 3-pointer from Waters. The Tigers coasted to the win from there. Florida had a chance to win with the final possession, but fumbled the ball and an awkward lay-up attempt was unsuccessful.
Four Tigers scored in double-digits, but Waters led with 19 points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Pirates win big
Seton Hall notched its improbable win by using a stout defense. The Pirates forced the Golden Eagles into 18 turnovers and held them to 39 percent shooting from the floor and 31 percent shooting from the three-point line. The Pirates tallied eight steals and five blocks.
The Pirates also got a monster performance from Myles Powell, who scored more than 30 points in a single game for the sixth time this season. Powell, a 6-ft-2 junior, poured in 34 points, five rebounds and five assists. Senior forward Michael Nzei chipped in 10 points and six rebounds for Seton Hall too.
For Marquette, junior forward Sam Hauser scored 25 points and was the only Golden Eagle to notch double-digit scoring figures. Markus Howard, the nation's fifth-leading scorer, was held to just six points on 2-of-11 shooting.
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Big East picture
With the loss by Marquette, Villanova has now clinched at least a share of the Big East regular season title and has the chance to win it outright on Saturday when they play at Seton Hall. A win for Marquette would’ve put them in a tie with Villanova at the top, but now the Golden Eagles are a full game back in the standings.
Seton Hall is now in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big East with St. John’s and Xavier. Georgetown remains a half-game ahead of the trio for third place. The win could boost Seton Hall’s resume for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. In Andy Katz’s latest prediction for the field of 64, he ranked Seton Hall as the 48th best team and slotted them in as a No. 12 seed to face N.C. State in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio.
AHHHHHMYLESPOWELLAHHH!!! pic.twitter.com/wAIxpMLJzr— Seton Hall Men's Basketball (@SetonHallMBB) March 7, 2019
LSU is now locked in a two-way tie with Tennessee for the SEC regular season title heading into the final game. The Tigers host Vanderbilt on Saturday, while Tennessee plays at Auburn.
For Florida, the win could've improved their chances as an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Katz had Florida pegged as the 46th best team in the field and projected them to be a 12th seed, facing off in the First Four against Arizona State. Now, the Gators head to Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday for a matchup with the No. 6 Wildcats, hoping to not lose their third straight game.
Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.