Kerry Blackshear Jr. produced another double-double, freshman Scottie Lewis scored 15 points and the No. 15 Florida Gators escaped with a 66-60 victory over the pesky Towson Tigers on Thursday night in Gainesville, Fla.
The Gators (2-1) came in as 17-point favorites but could not shake Towson (1-2) until the final minute.
Blackshear finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, his third straight double-double, but made just 4 of 14 from the floor. Florida got 31 points overall from its freshmen. Lewis scored 13 in the second half.
Allen Betrand led Towson with 14 points, leading scorer Brian Fobbs added 12, but he missed two 3-pointers in the last 35 seconds.
The game was tied at 60-60 with 1:21 to play when Blackshear made a tough baby hook high off the glass, surrounded by three defenders, to put the Gators up for good with 1:06 left. The Gators would make four free throws to seal the win.
The game went into halftime tied at 30-30 after a first half that saw the Gators trail by as many as six.
Towson shot 50 percent from the floor (10-for-20) while the Gators again struggled from the floor (12-for-32), many misses coming from point-blank range.
The Gators led 13-8 on Jason Jitoboh’s tip-in with 12:20 to go in the first half. But the Gators would miss four layups and go scoreless over the next 3:20 that allowed Towson to go on an 11-0 run and open up a 19-13 lead with 9:27 left.
The Gators would right themselves and retake the lead when Andrew Nembhard fed Keyontae Johnson from the top of the key for an alley-oop dunk to give the Gators a 22-21 lead with 6:47 left.
The Gators would play from behind again until Nembhard’s layup with 2 seconds left knotted the game.
The Gators grabbed six offensive boards but were outrebounded overall, 16-14.
The Gators go on the road for the first time to play at Connecticut on Sunday, while Towson takes on No. 21 Xavier in the Charleston Classic on Nov. 21.
–Field Level Media