Without a doubt, the University of Florida is a football school. It has been and it will continue to be the school’s focus in athletics.
But in a year when the football program recorded its worst season since 1979, the rest of Florida athletics stepped up to bring national recognition to Gainesville. Today, we at alligatorSports honor the best of the best from Gators sports over the past year. We have chosen the five most memorable games from the 2013-2014 season.
Here’s the kicker: You decide which one wins. Vote online at alligator.org/sports.
Without further ado, here’s the list of the best games in no particular order.
The Southeastern Conference Tournament final pitted the Gators and Wildcats against one another for the third time in the 2013-2014 season.
With just more than 11 minutes on the clock and down by 15, the Wildcats proceeded to go on a 21-7 run to cut the Gators’ lead to 61-60 with 1:31 left in the game.
After Scottie Wilbekin and Dorian Finney-Smith each missed free throws with fewer than 30 seconds to go, UK had a chance to jump ahead and capture the SEC Tournament on the final possession.
However, when James Young had an open lane, he slipped and lost possession of the ball to secure Florida’s first SEC Tournament championship since 2007.
In Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series Championship, UF rocked Bama’s Jaclyn Traina for five runs off six hits in just 1.1 innings.
Senior Hannah Rogers, who threw a four-hit shutout in the Gators’ Game 1 victory, closed out the final two innings to earn the save in Florida’s first championship in the program’s 18-year history.
UF had made it to the WCWS Championship twice before in 2009 and 2011, but the Gators were swept both times.
In the American Lacrosse Conference championship game, Florida faced rival Northwestern. The two schools butted heads once at the end of Florida’s 12-2 regular season and it was Northwestern’s opportunity to take the second win.
The Wildcats came out with a solid game leading the Gators 7-2 at halftime, but Florida managed to hold Northwestern to just one point in the second half while the Gators put the ball in the back of the net seven times to win 9-8. UF captured the ALC title for the second year in a row.
Despite not leading for the entire game, the Gators overcame a 16-point halftime deficit to shock the Hoyas. After tying the game at 58 at the end of regulation, Florida quickly took its first lead of the game on a three-point-play by senior Jaterra Bonds.
With the UF lead down to 66-65, Bonds, who scored a career-high 26 points in the game, drove hard to the basket and completed one of two fouls to cement the Gators 67-75 comeback victory.
Down 38-30 at the half, the Gators stormed back in the final 20 minutes behind their four seniors and the clutch three-point shooting of sophomore Michael Frazier.
Patric Young scored all 17 of his points in the second half and went 7-for-9 at the free-throw line, including hitting three within the final 20 seconds.
The Tigers had the opportunity to make their comeback down 68-66 but Allen Payne threw the inbound pass over the Gators’ bench to essentially seal UF’s 18th straight win.
With No. 1 Syracuse losing to unranked Boston College earlier that night, Florida’s victory against Auburn gave Billy Donovan’s squad the top ranking for the first time since 2007.