Macklin powers Florida over Mississippi State

By Adam Silverstein
February 6, 2010

It may not have looked pretty early, but the Florida Gators (17-6, 6-3 SEC) fought hard in the second half to pull off a 69-62 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs (16-7, 4-4 SEC). Having not defeated the Bulldogs since 2007, the Gators were fueled by redshirt junior transfer center Vernon Macklin, who scored a career-high 20 points and absolutely dominated the second half.

Macklin put up Florida’s first 10 points out of the locker room with two powerful dunks and three layups. Later in the half, he would add another layup and two-handed reverse dunk that got the Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd on its feet. He began the second half 6-for-6 and finished the game 10-for-14 with six rebounds.

Complimenting Macklin throughout the game was junior forward Chandler Parsons, whose double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds made up for the constant struggles of sophomore point guard Erving Walker and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton. The duo combined to shoot 4-of-25 from the field and 1-of-13 from downtown, only registering 12 points.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Gators vs. Bulldogs game story after the jump!

Down two to start the second half, the Gators quickly tied the game thanks to Macklin’s efforts. The two teams went back-and-forth for a few minutes until a layup by Parsons gave Florida a 43-41 lead with 12:27 remaining in the second half. The Gators would hang on from there, eventually utilizing a 16-5 run to go up game-high 12 points (61-49) with 2:40 left in the contest.

However, the Bulldogs were not quick to give up. Mississippi State caused four Florida turnovers and went a 7-0 run to cut the Gators’ lead to five with 1:10 left in the game. UF would respond with some baskets, but MSU kept chipping away and cut their deficit to four with 22.4 seconds left on the heels of back-to-back three-pointers from Gs Ravern Johnson and Barry Stewart.

Officiating was a question for Florida throughout the game. Head coach Billy Donovan was visibly upset in the first half at some foul calls that did not go the Gators’ collective way. With just 1:10 left in the game, officials called a phantom foul on Parsons that allowed the Bulldogs to pull within five. Luckily for Florida, it did not impact the result and they were able to hang on for the victory.

Johnson led Mississippi State with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting (2-for-4 from downtown), while F Jarvis Varnado contributed a double-double of 16 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Gators 46-35, outscored them 22-8 off of turnovers and shot significantly better from beyond the arc (34.8 percent to 17.6 percent). Florida, however, controlled the paint on offense (34-26) and was more disciplined on defense (13 fouls to 18 fouls), even with the questionable officiating.

The Gators jump back on the road looking to complete a sweep the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia, SC, on Wed., Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. The game will air live on SEC Network stations – check your local listings.

Photo Credit: Aaron E. Daye/Gainesville Sun

One Comment

  1. Basshole says:

    It was great to see Macklin have such a great game against a very talented big man, Varnado

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