Florida Gators basketball falls in overtime to Mississippi State in SEC Tournament | Game recap

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports

Florida basketball went for one last shot to reach the NCAA Tournament when it faced the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Thursday afternoon in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., at the SEC Tournament.

The eighth-seed Gators (16-15, 9-9 SEC) needed to win four games in four days to secure an automatic bid to qualify for the Field of 68.

Florida and Mississippi State (20-11, 8-10 SEC) last played on Jan. 21, a game in which the Gators edged the Bulldogs 61-59 in Starkville, Miss.

The Gators entered having gone 2-3 since losing All-SEC forward Colin Castleton to broken hand on Feb. 15 against Ole Miss. Freshman guard Riley Kugel has emerged as Florida's go-to scorer in Castleton's absence, averaging 20.0 ppg during the five-game stretch.

Mississippi State is led by All-SEC forward Tolu Smith, who is averaging 15.4 ppg and 8.3 rpg.

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Gators lose 69-68 in overtime on Tolu Smith layup

Florida loses 69-68 in overtime to Mississippi State, with Tolu Smith scoring the game-winning basket on a layup with 4.1 seconds left. Smith had 28 points to lead all scorers. Riley Kugel led Florida with 14 points. Gators a chance to win in overtime but Myreon Jones missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Florida falls to 16-16 and awaits word on if it will make the NIT.

Free basketball: Florida and Mississippi State head to overtime

Florida and Mississippi State tied at 57 going to overtime. Back to back 3-pointers by Myreon Jones, including one with 36 seconds have tied the score. Florida had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but a Jones 3-pointer at the buzzer clanged off the iron. Jones with 11 points for the Gators.

MSU remains up in tight game

Mississippi State up 53-51 on Florida with 3:30 left. Credit Gators for fighting back but Florida has turned it over in its last two offensive possessions. Florida is going to need to execute better offensively down the stretch to pull this one out.

MSU back up

Mississippi State back up 49-48 on Florida with 7:58 left. Kowacie Reeves with 11 points to lead Gators. Florida just 8-14 from foul line and 4 of 19 from 3. But still battling. Tolu Smith having his way inside for MSU with 16 points.

Gators take the lead

Florida is now up 42-39 on Mississippi State, forcing Bulldogs coach Chris Jans to take a timeout after a driving Riley Kugel layup with 13:03 left. Florida doing a much better job attacking the basket in the second half.

Florida making a run

The Gators have made a run to start the second half, cutting Mississippi State's lead to 37-33 on a Kowacie Reeves layups. Florida doing a better job attacking the basket in the second half. Center Jason Jitoboh has 8 points but is in foul trouble, on the bench with three fouls.

Florida trails by 10 at halftime

Florida closed the half with a 4-0 run to cut Mississippi State's lead to 36-26 at the half. Mississippi State has outscored Florida 12-0 in second chance points and 16-10 on points in the paint. Riley Kugel led Florida with 7 points in the half but is just 2 of 6 from the floor. As a team, Florida is shooting just 36 percent from the floor and 23.1 percent (3-13) from 3-point range.

Gators still struggling

Florida remains down 34-21 at last TV timeout of the first half. Gators still shooting just 33 percent from floor (7-21) and just 3 of 11 from 3-point range. Florida had made just one of its last eight 3-point attempts.

Florida down 14

 The Gators are trailing Mississippi State 31-17 with 6 minutes to go in the first half. Florida shooting just 33 percent from the field, 25 percent (2-8) from 3-point range.

What time do the Florida Gators play?

1 p.m. Thursday, March 9

Where is the Florida basketball game today?

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

What channel is the Florida game on?

SEC Network (Channel 611 on DirecTV, Channel 404 on Dish)

How can I watch Florida vs. Mississippi State on live stream?

WatchESPN and ESPN+ (subscription required), YouTube TV (2-week free trial), Hulu + Live TV (7-day free trial), fuboTV (7-day free trial)

How can I listen to UF vs. Mississippi State on the radio?

Radio: WRUF (103.7 FM, 98.1 FM, 850 AM), Sirius XM (Channel 190)

Online radio: (Channel 961),