It took a seemingly impossible challenge to bring out the best in a Louisiana State team that had squandered so much potential this season.
Playing without leading scorer and rebounder Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who has a pulled muscle in his right leg, the Tigers got 18 points from Terry Martin, 17 from Garrett Temple and stellar defense from everyone to pull off an impressive 66-56 upset over No. 3 Florida on Saturday.
"I was coaching so hard and trying to do everything I could in the last five minutes to make sure we won that game," said LSU Coach John Brady, who spent most of the game stomping and screaming on the sidelines.
"We got upset with each other a little bit, but we all hugged after it was over. I was so emotional when I was talking to them after tonight's game I couldn't even finish talking."
LSU, 15-13 overall, 4-10 Southeastern Conference, was ranked as high as sixth this season. But it had lost three in a row and nine of 10 before playing host to a Florida team that had been No. 1 a little over a week ago.
Florida (25-4, 12-2), which had already wrapped up the SEC regular-season title and had set a team record for victories in a regular season, had little riding on the game and played like it.
"They looked like a team that just won a championship, and competing maybe wasn't the most important thing on their mind here today," Florida Coach Billy Donovan said.
"There's got to be a level, when you're competing, a level of nervousness, a level of on-edge, a level of concern. And I think what happens is, that level of edge and concern starts to disappear the more you win. We've got to get to that point where that concentration level on block outs and rebounding is where it needs to be. But give LSU credit. They played great. They contributed to us playing the way we did."
The Gators missed their season averages in numerous categories as they lost for the second time in three games.
Normally a 42% shooting team from three-point range, the Gators were two of 17 (11.8%). They also fell 24 points short of their 80.3 season average.