GAINESVILLE -- Predictable loss for the Gators on Tuesday in Baton Rouge. UF looked good in spurts but fizzled in the end, losing to LSU 81-75 on Fat Tuesday.
LSU went without a field goal for more than five minutes (9:09-3:57) late in the second half but held off the Gators in the end by sinking 12 of 12 free throws. LSU senior guard Marcus Thornton scored 32 points, including six three-pointers. UF senior Walter Hodge led the Gators with 16 points. He made four three-pointers but two of those came in the final minute with the outcome already decided.
Playing with the flu for the second straight game, UF guard Nick Calathes had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists. With three games left of the season, the Gators' No.1 goal right now should be getting Calathes healthy before Tennessee comes to Gainesville on Sunday.
The Gators (21-7, 8-5 in SEC) entered the game tied for first in the SEC East but slipped behind Kentucky and South Carolina with the loss. LSU claimed at least a share of the SEC regular season title with the win. The final two weeks of the SEC should be an interesting affair. It's believed that Florida needs to win a few more games to shore up its NCAA Tournament portfolio.
UF is 2-5 on the road in SEC play this season and undefeated at home. The Gators final away game is against Mississippi State next Wednesday, sandwiched by home games against Tennessee (Sunday) and Kentucky (next Saturday.)