When the Florida Gators got back to Gainesville after Tuesday night’s 68-65 loss to Kentucky in Lexington, Nick Calathes and Chandler Parsons went straight to the practice gym where they spent a couple hours firing up shots trying to erase some of the sting of missing critical free throws late in the game.
“We were there late … really, really late,” said Parsons as he walked into the Florida practice facility Thursday afternoon. “Shot a lot of free throws and took a lot of shots. Just didn’t feel like sleeping after that one.”
The Gators were 14-17 from the line going into the final three minutes against Kentucky. They were 3-9 the rest of the way.
Florida is 19-5 this season, 6-3 in the SEC. In three of those five losses, the Gators have shot themselves in the foot at the foul line. The Gators went 11-17 from the line in a 57-55 loss to Florida State. The Gators lost 70-69 at South Carolina, a game in which they missed the front end of a one-and-one twice in the last 12 seconds. In that game, UF went 9-15 from the line.
If the Gators had simply hit their free throws in those three games, they would be 22-2 and 8-1 in the SEC right now. Florida would probably be ranked in the nation’s top 12 and would be looking at a top five seed for the NCAA Tournament. Instead, they are 19-5, 6-3 in the SEC and they’ll probably need four regular season wins in their last seven games to make the NCAA Tournament.
Florida is eighth in the SEC in free throw shooting at 68.5 percent. Kentucky leads the league at 78.5 percent.
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