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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Gators win double overtime thriller against Michigan

Pullin hit late three to send game to second overtime

Florida graduate student forward Tyrese Samuel dunks the ball in the Gators' 77-57 home win over the Merrimack Warriors on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023.
Florida graduate student forward Tyrese Samuel dunks the ball in the Gators' 77-57 home win over the Merrimack Warriors on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Gators trailed by three late in overtime against Michigan. Junior guard Walter Clayton Jr.’s three missed the mark, but graduate student forward Tyrese Samuel rose up and snatched the offensive rebound.

He kicked it out to graduate student guard Zyon Pullin. He buried a game-tying three to send the game to a second overtime. 

The Gators continued to get baskets inside and went on an 11-0 run in double overtime capped off by a Clayton three to give Florida the win. 

“This should give us a lot of confidence as we move forward,” said UF head coach Todd Golden. “Just really happy and excited for out team.”

The Florida Gators (8-3) defeated the Michigan Wolverines (6-6) 106-101 in double overtime in the 2023 Jumpman Invitational at the Spectrum Center Tuesday night. Pullin led the team in scoring with 22 points as five Gators scored in double figures.

“Our guys did a really good job of staying the course,” Golden said. “Just because its overtime doesn’t mean you need to play differently or needed to try new things. I thought our guys were consistent that way.” 

Clayton attacked the basket on the first possession of the game and hit a layup to get the scoring started. 

The sides traded misses before Michigan guard Dug McDaniel banked in a shot close to tie it. 

The Gators entered a shooting slump and were just 2-10 on their first 10 shots. Samuel battled down low and scored a basket through contact to make it a one-point game.

McDaniel later responded with a triple to stretch the Wolverines lead. He hit a crossover and stepped back as he drained back-to-back threes. He had 11 of Michigan’s 15 points early on 3-3 shooting from deep.

Florida freshman forward Alex Condon battled down low and scored a layup as UF cut the lead down to four. Wolverines forward Olivier Nkamhoua answered on the other end with a turnaround jumper to make it 17-11.

Samuel picked up the pace and drove to the cup for a layup to make it 17-13 midway through the first half. 

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The Gators briefly cut the deficit to one after freshman forward Thomas Haugh ripped the ball out for a steal and threw it to junior guard Will Richard, who dunked in transition.  Nkamhoua immediately responded with a triple. 

UF made it a one-score game again after junior guard Walter Clayton Jr. buried a three from the right wing. 

The sides traded baskets as the Wolverines remained in front. Gators sophomore center Micah Handlogten threw down a putback dunk and then later nailed a wide-open 3-pointer to cut it to one point.

Sophomore guard Riley Kugel drove the baseline and dished it off to Handlogten, who slammed it home again to put UF in front 31-30. 

Michigan forward Terrance Williams II put the Wolverines back in front after a defensive breakdown gave him a wide-open triple. Condon tied it at 35 apiece late in the first half after he battled down low for a layup. 

With the seconds ticking away, Florida forced a stop and got the ball to Pullin. He raced up the court and banked in a halfcourt buzzer-beater to give the Gators a 38-37 lead at halftime.

Both sides traded baskets to open the second half. The teams were tied 44 apiece before Wolverines guard Nimari Burnett hit a mid-range jumper to put Michigan in front. 

McDaniel drew a foul and hit a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to four. Samuel kept UF in the game with six early second-half points. The Wolverines still led by five after a Williams corner three. 

The Wolverines went on an 11-2 run after the game sat tied at 44. Samuel and Pullin both scored inside to keep it close. Richard caught a pass from Kugel and knocked down an open corner three to cut it to four. 

Richard later caught an inbound and drove the baseline for a layup through contact. McDaniel responded on the other end to keep it a five-point Michigan lead.

Pullin hit a pair of free throws to draw UF closer. Haugh knocked down a triple from the left wing to tie the game at 63 before Nkamhoua restored the Wolverine lead with a shot inside. 

The Gators missed layups on three straight possessions before Handlogten grabbed an offensive board and put it back in to tie the game again.

Pullin put Florida in front after he drove to the cup and scored against contact. He made the free throw to complete the three-point play. 

With the game knotted at 69 apiece, Nkamhoua drilled a heavily contested 3-pointer. Richard responded two possessions later with a three of his own to tie it again.

Richard drew a foul and hit one free throw to put UF up one late. Pullin drove to the cup for a layup and drew contact during the score. He nailed the free throw to make it 78-74 UF with less than two minutes left in the game.

Michigan forward Tarris Reed Jr. scored a three-point play of his own. Richard answered on the other end as he drove to the cup and floated for a tough layup. He then converted the ensuing free throw. 

Down two late, Reed threw down a putback dunk to tie it. Pullin’s layup was blocked on the other end with 2.6 seconds left as UF kept possession. 

Condon got a shot off before time expired but it missed as the teams went to overtime. 

The Wolverines opened the scoring in overtime. Samuel got down low and scored. He hit a free throw to complete the three-point play and give UF a one-point advantage. Michigan led by three midway through the extra period off three points from the charity stripe.

Clayton attempted a game-tying three as seconds ticked away but missed. Samuel rose up and grabbed the offensive board and tossed it out to Pullin, who buried a triple to tie it at 89 apiece. Samuel finished the game with 11 rebounds — with six on the offensive side.

Both teams had one last shot but missed each as the game went to a second overtime.

The Gators trailed 93-91 in the second overtime period. Florida continued to battle inside for layups as UF finally started to pull away. Clayton capped off an 11-0 Gators run with a triple in transition. 

Golden applauded his team and the combination of youth and experience on his squad.

“These are the guys you want to go to war with,” he said. 

Two late triples from Michigan cut UF’s lead to 105-101 with 18.5 seconds left in double overtime. The Gators held on to take down the Wolverines 106-101 in Charlotte. 

UF will return to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for its next game against Grambling State at 4 p.m. Friday. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+

Contact Jackson Reyes at Follow him on Twitter @JacksnReyes.

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Jackson Reyes

Jackson Reyes is a UF journalism senior and The Alligator's Fall 2023 Sports Editor. He previously served as Digital Managing Editor and was a reporter and assistant editor on the sports desk. In his free time, he enjoys collecting records, long walks on the beach and watching Bo Nix.

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