With just over a minute to go, St. Bonaventure finally had Florida back on level pegging, after spending almost two halves chasing the Gators. Gone were the 60-45 lead that existed at the 11:29 mark of the second half, and the 47-34 edge that eight points from KeVaughn Allen granted Florida before the under-16 timeout.
This was the moment for Florida to flourish or fold.
And flourish they did.
The Gators got three stops in the final minute, punctuating two of them with run-out dunks by John Egbunu and Devin Robinson, and finished with a 7-0 run that gave them a 73-66 win over the feisty Bonnies and a 3-0 record on the year.
That last minute redeemed a night on which Florida only flashed its excellence.
Allen shared the lead in scoring for Florida on the night, with 16 points, but he needed 14 shots to get them, and had two turnovers to one assist. Egbunu had 10 rebounds, but just four points; he also committed five turnovers while being pestered by double teams in the post. Kasey Hill had his worst night of the young season, with five turnovers to four assists, and Devin Robinson’s 10 points on four shots were notable both for their efficiency and his absence from the floor for a long stretch of the first half with foul trouble. Chris Chiozza’s rebound, outlet pass, and steal in the final minute were the most memorable parts of his six-point, two-assist performance.
Yet this was a night on which the Gators won. That’s largely because this was a night on which Canyon Barry, Florida’s superb sixth man, was a star.
Barry netted 16 points, nine on three straight threes midway through the second half, and was money when needed. He also snagged a rebound and held on for long enough to get fouled in that final minute, then converted his only two underhanded free throws of the night to put Florida ahead for good.
Barry, too, figured into yeoman’s work on defense against a potent combination of snipers Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, who combined for 42 points, but had to hoist 31 shots to get them. And while Adams starred in the first half, and Mobley kept the Bonnies in this game with five threes, both drew iron on threes in the final 1:01 of play, helping the Gators escape Lakeland with a win.