No. 13 Florida steals 64-60 victory at Ole Miss

Down 16 points eight minutes into the game and looking lost on both ends of the floor, the No. 13/14 Florida Gators (16-4, 4-1 SEC) rode an impressive second half to a come-from-behind 64-60 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels (13-7, 3-3 SEC) on the road at Tad Smith Coliseum in Oxford, MS on Thursday.

Coming off the bench for the Gators, sophomore center Patric Young led his offense with 15 points, and senior point guard Erving Walker helped UF to 21 assists on 24 baskets thanks to nine dimes of his own in a composed 31 minutes.

For the first time in a while it was Florida’s opponent that got off to an unbelievably fast start as Ole Miss began the game with an early 20-4 lead thanks to hitting their first four buckets from downtown as part of an impressive 14-0 run.

With the Gators looking to get back into the game, UF rebounded from its ugly 2-for-10 start from the field and cut their deficit to 10, but the Rebels would not relent.

An 11-2 run by Florida – including a pair of treys by junior guard Kenny Boynton – reduced Ole Miss’ lead to 29-23 with 5:27 remaining in the first half. However, the Rebels once again fought back, ending the first 20 minutes with a 9-5 scoring stretch to take a 10-point lead on the Gators heading into the break.

Ole Miss was a perfect 6-for-6 from downtown in the first half with G Nick Williams hitting all four of his attempts and F Terrence Henry knocking in both of his treys as well.

Florida opened the second half with gusto and a 6-0 run, continuing their stellar play with an explosive 12-2 scoring stretch to take a 48-46 lead with 8:09 left. It was UF’s first advantage since they led 2-0 early in the contest thanks in part to nine points by Young.

The Gators continued their onslaught of the Rebels with another 11-2 run, going up a game-high seven points (61-54) thanks to a trio of treys including two more by Boynton.

Maintaining their seven-point advantage with 49 seconds to play, Florida appeared to be letting the game slip away. Henry hit a big three-pointer for Ole Miss and Boynton missed the front end of a one-and-one on the other end to give the Rebels the ball back.

Ole Miss would then draw a foul with 24 seconds remaining but hit just one of two free throws to find themselves down three points. Rushing the ball back up the court, Walker tripped and fell, allowing the Rebels to grab on for a jump ball with 18.2 seconds left.

Fortunately for Walker and the Gators, sophomore forward Will Yeguete swiped the ball away just outside the paint and freshman G Bradley Beal picked it up. Beal would then hit a free throw, and Henry missed a three-pointer with six seconds left to end the game.

After being outscored 38-28 in the first half, Florida posted 14 more points than Ole Miss (36-22) in the second half. The Rebels hit a cold stretch from long range, connecting on just one of their last six attempts while also committing 13 turnovers.

The Gators were a paltry 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) from the free throw line but only turned the ball over six times for a 3.5 assist/turnover ratio. Florida also scored 18 points off turnovers and had 26 off the bench including Young’s 15.

The Rebels outrebounded their visitors 41-23 (12-3 offensive) and shot 58.3 percent from three after netting just 27.3 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc over their first 19 games.

Boynton finished second on the Gators with 12 points by hitting 4-of-10 attempts from downtown, Walker added 10 points to his impressive performance, and redshirt junior G Mike Rosario had arguably his best game of the season by playing stellar defense and scoring eight important points.

Henry led the way for Mississippi with game-highs of 21 points (on 9-of-16 shooting) and 10 boards, and Williams added 14 points and five rebounds of his own.

Florida snapped Ole Miss’ eight-game home winning streak and hopes to continue its 16-game stretch of victories at home by hosting No. 16/18 Mississippi State on Saturday. The game will air live at 1:30 p.m. on SEC Network (check your local listings).

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12 Responses to “No. 13 Florida steals 64-60 victory at Ole Miss”

  1. Even after it was 20-4, I still wasn’t that worried. I knew Ole Miss would cool down A LOT, and while we weren’t playing our absolute best, I knew it would be much better, as the second half showed.

    The key thing is we are now getting out-rebounded in games. It’s very concerning. Against Kentucky that will be a huge thing against us. Beal needs to get back to getting all those rebounds. Will could do better as well. Pat will keep improving and healing up whatever injury this is now.

  2. John S says:

    Very happy with the win tonight, they were just fallen for Ole Miss and we just kept at it. Boynton’s treys were big. Good job Gators.

  3. SC_Gator says:

    Good thing is, they don’t give up. Sometimes that’s just enough to make the difference.

  4. jay d says:

    going to have to be more consistent all around if they expect to make any type of run for sec or ncaa.

    • Tractorr says:

      The thing was Florida was not playing that bad in the first half, Ole Miss was just on fire and our shots were not dropping.

  5. Fernzpat says:

    I confess: I turned this game off to watch something else with the kids. My ten year old said the Gators would be coming back, but I really thought we had no chance. Scrappy team, good for them.

  6. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Team grew up some tonite to handle adversity and adjust with composure. Nice to see…

  7. Eli says:

    Good teams don’t drop off. When we play Vandy/Kentucky, you better believe that if the Gators are down 16, the opponent is gong to continue to put major pressure on them. They CANNOT start slow like that. They also cannot allow such a huge advantage rebounding. Size wasn’t the issue last night—it was fundamentals, effort, and intelligence.

    This was a nice win and a bit of a growth moment, but I still want to see what happens on the road in Lexington in a few weeks before I make any definitive statements about this team.

  8. mark says:

    Great game by the Gators.

    Ole Miss was making everything early and we hung in there and battled back.

  9. mark says:

    One note though.

    I think Erv needs to be pulled in late game situations. He seems to crumble all the time.
    Does anyone feel confident with the ball in his hands with the game on the line? cough Butler cough

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