Published January 08, 2015
When Florida coach Billy Donovan walked into the postgame interview room shortly past midnight, he was not in a particularly good mood.
A different outcome wouldn't have changed that, either.
His 18th-ranked Gators are struggling, and he's not sugarcoating the problems. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's jumper with 3.4 seconds left in overtime gave Georgetown a 66-65 victory over Florida in the Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinals Wednesday night — and with that loss came a stunning piece of Gators history.
For the first time since 1949-50, the Gators haven't reached the 70-point mark in any of their first four games.
"We don't play the right way. We don't play the right way. We don't," Donovan said. "I would say this: We're not an overly talented team and we don't have a lot of size. We're a team that can be a hard-working team, can be an unselfish team, but we need to pass and share the basketball.
"I would say our basketball acumen needs to get a lot better," Donovan added. "There's not a great feel sometimes with decisions that we make."
Smith-Rivera's shot was the 21st and final lead change of the night, and sent the Hoyas (4-0) into Thursday's semifinals against No. 2 Wisconsin.
"The team sitting in front of us tomorrow is a monster," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said.
Added Smith-Rivera: "We're a monster too."
Donovan hopes his team learns from it as well.
Kasey Hill's three-point play with 11.5 seconds left put the Gators (2-2) up by one, but Smith-Rivera connected from near the top of the key for what became the winner.
Smith-Rivera led all scorers with 17 points. Paul White and Jabril Trawick each added 10 for Georgetown.
"This felt like a middle-of-the-season, end-of-the-season game," Thompson said. "That was two teams going back and forth at each other. ... It was a good game for us to be in now, it was a good game for them to be in now."
Dorian Finney-Smith scored 16 points, Michael Frazier II added 12 and Jon Horford had 10 for Florida, which shot just 36 percent.
Both teams came up empty at the end of regulation. Trawick fouled out with 34.1 seconds left when he charged into Florida's Jacob Kurtz, and Eli Carter tried to win it for the Gators at the buzzer but failed to get a decent shot off in the lane against a slew of defenders.
The Gators — still very much a work in progress because of serious roster shuffling — had to get creative against Georgetown center Joshua Smith, sometimes even using the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Kurtz against the 6-foot-10, 350-pound Hoya.
Smith was more than willing to help their cause. He was called twice for flagrant fouls after reviews showed him leading with his elbow, including one with 7:07 remaining in regulation where Kurtz got sent flying.
Kurtz made one of the two ensuing free throws for that one, putting the Gators up 44-42. Georgetown answered with the next six, and the frantic finish was on the way.
"We came up one play short," Kurtz said.
Georgetown: The Hoyas led 31-27 at the half despite having no one score more than six points in the opening 20 minutes. ... The Hoyas were playing away from home for the first time this season.
Florida: No Gator started warming up for the second half until 2:25 remained on the halftime clock. ... It was the 101st time that Donovan coached a team in November. Those teams are now 89-12.
For the first time since 2006, Florida and Georgetown finished with they started. They last met in 2012 on the deck of the USS Bataan, when the game was called at halftime because of on-court condensation and with the Gators leading 27-23. They last played a full game in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, when the Gators won 57-53 on the way to the national title.
Boston Celtics President Danny Ainge was in the crowd, as were scouts from several NBA teams, including the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs.
Georgetown: Faces No. 2 Wisconsin in Thursday's semifinals.
Florida: Faces Alabama-Birmingham in Thursday's consolation round.