The way he’s been playing so far in Nashville, freshman Kayontae Johnson may be on his way to landing the MVP award in the 2019 SEC Tournament.
After opening the tournament with 20 points and 12 rebounds on Thursday against Arkansas, the Gators breakout big man chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds in Florida’s 76-73 win against LSU. Thanks to his gutty performance, the Gators improve their record to 19-14 on the season.
The win over the SEC’s top seed all but assures Mike White’s team will now make the NCAA Tournament, as the team entered the tournament on the bubble, according to many college basketball insiders. However, now that they have added a quadrant 1 win, the Gators resume gets that much better.
The Gators came out cold in the game, which nearly killed their chances in the contest but the three-point shot started to fall in the second half, which put Mike White’s team right back in the game late in the contest. They ended the game making eight of 28 three-point attempts — including the game-winning shot.
The absence of Will Wade loomed large entering this game and it showed late in the game as LSU interim coach Tony Benford was called for a technical foul after a call against Naz Reid at the 3:45-mark in the game. The contest was tied, so giving Florida two shots and the ball was a huge mistake by Bedford. The Gators scored six points during that exchange.
Following this win, Florida moves on to Saturday’s Semifinal Round and will play the winner of the #5 Auburn vs. #4 South Carolina matchup. That game is set to be played at 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT on ESPN.