77ºF

Gators end losing streak with 72-70 win against Oklahoma State in Orange Bowl Basketball Classic

Florida coach Mike White praises team's offensive performance

Dorian Finney-Smith scored 16 points for the Gators, including three 3-pointers, in a 72-70 win against Oklahoma State in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. Photo courtesy of Jeff Romance
Dorian Finney-Smith scored 16 points for the Gators, including three 3-pointers, in a 72-70 win against Oklahoma State in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. Photo courtesy of Jeff Romance (JEFF ROMANCE)

SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida junior Dorian Finney-Smith scored 16 points as the Gators did enough to beat Oklahoma State, 72-70, on Saturday in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

The victory ended a two-game losing streak for the Gators, who stumbled in consecutive road losses at Miami and Michigan State.

"It was a quality win for us against a quality program," first-year Florida head coach Mike White said.

But it didn't come easy.

The Gators (7-3) only led 35-34 at halftime, and they let Oklahoma State (7-4) chip away at a 10-point lead late in the second half.

There were eight lead changes in the game, but Florida took advantage of Oklahoma State's turnovers, which translated to 21 points for the Gators.

White said he thought it was the best offensive performance from his team this year.

"Of course, we'll continue to be a work in progress offensively, but we showed signs tonight," White said.

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said there were just a few plays that made a difference in the game.

"Winning and losing is a fine line," Ford said. "It was a very fine line tonight."

The Gators had eight 3-point shots, including three from Finney-Smith, who was named the game's most valuable player.

"That's a lot," Ford said.

Despite the loss, Ford said he was proud of his mostly ailing players for putting themselves in a position to be successful.

"We'll get there," Ford said.

The Gators improved to 15-2 all-time in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. They have now won six consecutive games at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

"It feels good to get a W," Ford said.