Gators hang on to prevail 77-71 against Rebels

By Adam Silverstein
January 8, 2011

Suffering some disappointments early in the season, the Florida Gators (12-3, 1-0) started Southeastern Conference play with a bang in the form of a 77-71 win over the Ole Miss Rebels (12-4, 0-1) on Saturday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Florida junior point guard Erving Walker eclipsed 1,000 points in a victory that saw the Gators take a large lead, give it up and still manage to win handily.

The game got off to a rocky start for both teams until Florida took off on a 14-2 run over the last 3:04 of the half to head into the locker rooms up 39-28.

Senior forward Chandler Parsons hit the Gators’ first trey of the game to give them a 28-26 lead. Walker followed with a three of his own; he stole the ball on the next possession and lobbed a terrific outlet pass to freshman PG Scottie Wilbekin for the layup. Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin followed with a dunk, and Parsons hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the half strong for Florida.

Up a game-high 12 points on a dagger three-pointer by sophomore guard Kenny Boynton, the Gators quickly lost their lead as the Rebels erupted on a 13-3 run and eventually narrowed the gap to 45-43 with Florida ahead.

Ole Miss G Chris Warren, who caught fire in the second half, hit a trey to tie the game at 51. After some back-and-forth action, UF would re-take the lead permanently on four-straight points by Walker (including a floater that helped him eclipse the 1,000-point mark) to put them up 65-61.

Boynton closed out the game for the Gators with a four-point play, three-pointer off a missed trey and acrobatic lay-up to score nine-straight points on his own. His four-point play was his fourth this season (he’s a perfect 4-for-4 when given the opportunity), third in as many games and sixth of his career.

Walker became the 47th player in school history to eclipse 1,000 career points and did so while dishing three assists and turning the ball over twice. Wilbekin, Walker’s reserve, dished six dimes and did not commit a single turnover. Florida, as a team, had a 22-to-7 assist-to-turnover ratio with the trio of primary ball handlers (Walker, Wilbekin and Parsons) going 17-to-2.

Four of the Gators’ starting five did the majority of the work on the evening. Boynton and Parsons each finished with 17 points; the former added three dimes while the latter contributed seven boards and five assists. Macklin’s 16 points came on 8-of-12 shooting, and he added seven rebounds.

For the Rebels, Warren – after being shutout in the first half – scored all 20 of his points in the second period. He shot 6-for-7 from the field and 4-for-5 from downtown in the second half and hit all four of his free throws. F Reginald Buckner posted the game’s only double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), and F Terrance Henry was efficient scoring 12 points and grabbing eight boards.

Florida was uncharacteristically out-rebounded 33-28 in the contest but dished 14 more assists (22-8), committed four fewer turnovers (7-11) and was safer on defense (11-17 turnovers). The Gators shot 50 percent from downtown and 80 percent from the charity stripe, two areas they had struggled previously.

Hoping to build on their third-straight victory, Florida will look to make it four-in-a-row when they travel to Knoxville, TN, to face Tennessee on Tuesday at 9 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN with live coverage online from OGGOA.

15 Comments

  1. Basshole says:

    Nice win. When Warren started heating up, I was getting a bit nervous. It looks we have a pretty decent team, but I don’t think we will have any easy games. I can every game being a nail-biter.

  2. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Way to go Gators! And congrats to Erving on eclipsing the 1,000 point mark!
    Great way to kick off SEC play!

  3. John S says:

    Great job Gators, also glad to see Kentucky fall.

    On the negative side, nice job Saints defense. Come on, we need our DC.

  4. Basshole says:

    Heh. John, as a Bucs fan I don’t have a dog in the NFL
    playoff fight anymore so my rooting interests were following yours,
    but I have to say that I wasn’t as concerned about our defensive
    recruiting as I was our O side of the ball. So obviously I’m a
    Ravens fan tomorrow.

  5. John S says:

    Basshole you’re probably right, it doesn’t sound like Quinn
    is a hard corps recruiter. I’ll certainly be pulling for the
    Ravens.

  6. g8ter27 says:

    Well lets see if this team can man up and play at good game
    against the Vols. I hope so but history says we lose by 15 or more.
    On the FB front, it appears many of our targets are on the
    defensive side of the ball so I think i iwll be pulling for the
    falcons/bears next sunday.

  7. Mr2Bits says:

    @Basshole and John : Our recruits are not too concerned
    about their future coaches not being able to meet face-to-face
    because they are helping their teams win a super bowl. Sure it
    would be nice to have them sooner than later but these kids
    understand their possibly future coaches situations. Most are
    pulling for these coaches to win with their teams and are not
    pulling for first round losses just so Charlie or Dan can come over
    to moms house for a home cooked meal and to thumb through the baby
    book of photos. I assure you they have been chatting over the phone
    and you can see the stars aligning as top flight players are
    extending their commit time to NSD when it was set to go before,
    dropping verbals and setting up official visits with UF where they
    had no interest before. Sleep tight as UF will have a top 10 by
    this time next month.

  8. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Ravens winning….looks like Charlie could be in Hogtown
    next week.

  9. dp says:

    Is Adam on vacation? It’s ok if he is but I was just wondering since there was a high school all-star game, our new DCs team pulled a major upset and our new OC should be arriving soon now that his former team is toast. I guess I’m just looking forward to a recruiting update since I thought we had some visitors this weekend. Anyone else hear that we might be looking at one more QB prospect? Some kid named Brisset or something out of Dwyer?

    • I never go on vacation dp…but not exactly sure out of everything you said what you want me to write about. I do have a post going up in a few mins. So hold your horses 🙂

  10. dp says:

    Actually I was hoping you finally did take a break! We need you rested for the recruiting run!

  11. Gatorguy11 says:

    Don’t ya’ll agree that when you get on here and there are no new posts it’s kind of depressing? I do man. This is a great site Adam!

  12. Gatorgrad79 says:

    OGGOA junkie – need a constant fix every few hours,,,

  13. CH says:

    gatorgrad79 – you nailed it. If I miss a day without OGGOA, I feel like the world has slipped by. I never thought I’d sign up for twitter, but this website is forcing me to be a follower. Adam – you are the man. Where ever life takes you, (and I can see big possibilities) don’t forget this website – we NEED it.

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