Florida's Tyree Appleby said his 3-point shot at the buzzer to beat Ohio State in the Fort Myers Tip-Off championship game on Wednesday night was like a movie ending.
The No. 23 Gators (5-0) couldn't have scripted a better start to their undefeated season, with wins over three Power Five opponents so far, including rival Florida State.
Florida's next act will be to stay perfect on Sunday afternoon when it hosts Troy (4-2) in Gainesville, Fla.
Appleby had gone 1 for 9 from the field before he launched the game-winning shot from about two or three steps behind the 3-point line as time expired in the 71-68 win.
Appleby's impact has been felt as a distributor on the floor this season as he leads the Gators with 3.6 assists per game. But his coaches and teammates said after the game they had full confidence in him making the big shot.
"Once I hit the shot, I felt my teammates right there with me," Appleby said. "Probably one of the best moments of my college career, really my life."
Appleby, who is averaging 11.2 points per game through five games, has been key to the Gators' hot start. Florida has been balanced on the offensive end, with five players averaging 10 or more points, while holding opponents to 57.8 points per game. The Gators scored 22 points off 18 Ohio State turnovers.
Colin Castleton leads Florida with 15.8 points and 10.4 rebounds and recorded his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds against the Buckeyes.
Phlandrous Fleming Jr., who is averaging an even 11 points per game, led Florida with 19 points.
"Our guys showed a lot of grit," Florida coach Mike White said. "A tough-nosed group that just found a way. It wasn't real pretty in a lot of areas for about 30 minutes. I thought the last 10 we executed at a better rate."
Troy bounced back from a loss to North Dakota in its opening game of the Paradise Classic with back-to-back victories over UT-Martin and Florida Atlantic.
And Duke Deen and Duke Miles each continue to lead the Trojans, who are coming off an 83-78 overtime win over FAU on Monday night. It was Troy's second overtime win in a one-week span after it defeated Jacksonville State in triple overtime on Nov. 16.
Miles' layup with 1:27 remaining in the extra period gave Troy the lead for good, and he scored eight of his 16 points in overtime. Miles also had four assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Deen, Troy's leading scorer averaging 13.3 points per game, led the Trojans with 17 points against Florida Atlantic. Zay Williams had 14 points and TK Smith had 11 points for Troy.
Forward Efe Odigie is averaging 13 points and 5.3 rebounds to lead the Trojans' frontcourt.
"The most important thing for us was coming together as a basketball team," Troy coach Scott Cross said after the victory over UT-Martin. "I felt today we came together and really connected, and it was a great all-around win. Seeing our shots go down gave us confidence. But it all starts with defense, and we played great defense tonight."
--Field Level Media