Appleby’s Buzzer Beater Gives Gators the Title
Tyree Appleby hit the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired to lift Florida to a dramatic come-from behind victory over Ohio State, 71-68, in the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off Beach Division championship game.
After an Ohio State miss with eight seconds left, Myreon Jones grabbed the rebound for Florida and dished it off to Appleby, who drilled the deciding shot at the buzzer. Appleby finished with eight points and two assists in the contest.
The Buckeyes led most of the way, including a 10-point advantage following a Zed Key dunk with just over 13 minutes remaining, but the Gators kept chipping away – tying the game with 2:30 remaining before the final sequence unfolded. Colin Castleton registered 11 points and 13 rebounds and was named the tournament MVP. Phlandrous Fleming, Jr. finished with 19 points and four steals, and C.J. Felder scored a season-high 10 points off the bench. On the defensive side of the ball, the Gators forced a season-high 18 turnovers for the second consecutive game.
E.J. Liddell did it all for Ohio State, scoring 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting while recording five rebounds and five blocks. Ten total Buckeyes scored points in the game, including 11 from Kyle Young and seven apiece from Key and Jamari Wheeler.
Both teams were locked in defensively in the first half, holding their respective opponents to under 50 percent shooting from the field and under 20 percent from downtown. Florida scored nine straight points to take a 22-17 lead with just over five minutes to play before Ohio State ended the half on a 13-4 run to take a 30-26 advantage. Liddell was the bright spot for the Buckeyes, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field in the period.
Members of the All-Tournament Team, Castleton averaged 13.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists while shooting 50.0% from the field during the tournament. Fleming, Jr. averaged 15.0 points and 2.0 rebounds and was outstanding from the free-throw line, making 13-of-14 shots. Liddell averaged 25.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks per game for the Buckeyes.
2021 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off Beach Division All-Tournament Team
Colin Castleton, Florida – MVP
Phlandrous Fleming, Jr., Florida
Tyree Appleby, Florida
Andre Kelly, Cal
E.J. Liddell, Ohio State
Jared Rhoden, Seton Hall