Florida survived the first buzzer-beater of March Madness.
No. 10-seeded Virginia Tech’s Nahiem Alleyne hit the game-tying 3-pointer with less than two seconds remaining in regulation, but No. 7 Florida rebounded to post the first win of the NCAA Tournament, 75-70, on the back of its own clutch 3. The shot to force overtime was Alleyene’s fourth 3-pointer of the game.
With the Gators clinging to a one-point lead in the extra five minutes, Terance Mann drilled a step-back 3 off the dribble to open up a 74-70 lead with 22 seconds to go in overtime. The Hokies didn’t score again.
Florida, which rallied from a 10-point deficit earlier in the game, had a chance to close out the win in regulation but missed a free throw to give Virginia Tech a second chance at a tying 3. It is the eighth time in its last eight NCAA Tournament appearances that Florida, which next will face either No. 2 Ohio State or No. 15 Oral Roberts, has advanced to at least the second round.
Florida star Tyree Appleby took an inadvertent elbow to the face in the second half and did not return.
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