Gators hold off Hokies in overtime of NCAA tournament opener, 75-70

Colin Castleton, Scottie Lewis, and Tre Mann lead Florida past Virginia Tech
Florida Gators forward Anthony Duruji (4) shoots over Virginia Tech Hokies forward Keve Aluma...
Florida Gators forward Anthony Duruji (4) shoots over Virginia Tech Hokies forward Keve Aluma (22) in the first half of a first round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Friday, March 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)(Michael Conroy | ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 3:11 PM EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WCJB) -No. 7 seed Florida needed overtime to pull off a victory in Friday’s NCAA tournament opening round game, defeating No. 10 seed Virginia Tech, 75-70 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Gators (15-9) advance to face No. 15 seed Oral Roberts on Sunday after the Golden Eagles upset No. 2 seed Ohio State, 72-69 in overtime.

Florida trailed most of the game, but rallied with a late 10-1 run and led 59-53 with 2:48 remaining in regulation. The Gators still had a 64-61 advantage with 7.3 seconds left when Anthony Duruji missed two free throws, allowing the Hokies to force overtime on Nahiem Alleyne’s three-pointer with 1.7 seconds to go.

In overtime, the Gators took control on Colin Castleton’s three-point play that broke a 66-all tie. Tre Mann then added a huge three-pointer for a 74-70 lead with 22.9 seconds left.

Castleton led the Gators with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks. The 6-foot-11 transfer from Michigan was instrumental in Florida’s second half comeback, and made a pair of free throws to give the Gators a 53-52 advantage with 5:14 remaining, the first lead by the Gators since 6-4 at the 15:41 mark of the first half.

Scottie Lewis added 15 points, including a key jumper to make it 56-52 Gators at the 4:05 mark to cap a 7-0 scoring run. Mann contributed 14 points.

Florida played the final 13 minutes of the second half and all of overtime without guard Tyree Appleby, who left the game after taking an elbow to the head that required stitches.

The Gators have now won their last eight opening round NCAA tournament games.

Alleyne led The Hokies with a career-high 28 points.

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