Gators leave doubts, fall to Bulldogs 75-69

By Adam Silverstein
March 12, 2010

Down a game-high 19 points with 13:29 left to play, the Florida Gators (21-12) rallied with a strong 14-0 run but still fell short, losing to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (22-10) 75-69 Friday night in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.

Led by a 23-point effort from freshman guard Kenny Boynton, the Gators’ backcourt scored 48 of the team’s 69 total points. Sophomore point guard Erving Walker contributed 19 points on 6-12 shooting while going 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. Boynton finished 4-of-7 from downtown and 8-for-16 overall with a team-high three assists.

Florida began the game slow, missing their first five shots and allowing Mississippi State to get out to a 10-0 lead. A layup by Walker almost four minutes in ended the drought. The Gators attempted an early comeback, using a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 13-9, but the Bulldogs answered back and pulled ahead to a 15-point lead halfway through the period. UF finished the half with its backcourt accounting for 25 of its 28 points.

Up a game-high 19 points, 58-39, with 13:20 to left on the clock, MSU looked to have the game locked up. That was until Florida exploded on a 14-0 run to close within five as Mississippi State was held scoreless for six minutes. It would not be enough for the Gators, who would eventually get down to a four-point deficit on a Walker free throw with 1:25 to play. Florida had a chance to get within two with plenty of time left, but a mishandled pass by senior forward Dan Werner – who had a wide-open lane to the hoop in front of him – turned the ball (and perhaps the game) over to the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State shot over 66 percent from both the field and downtown for the majority of the game, but finished 57.1 percent and 50 percent from the respective locations compared to 43.6 percent and 39.1 percent for the Gators. Florida out-rebounded MSU 32-20, mostly due to the majority of the Bulldogs’ baskets going into the hoop.

Mississippi State guard Barry Stewart led the way with a team-high 17 points as F Jarvis Varnado dominated the paint with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, four rebounds and four big blocks. In all, five Bulldogs finished in double figures, with G Ravern Johnson adding 12 and G Dee Bost and F Kodi Augustus contributing 10 apiece.

Florida junior F Alex Tyus scored five points one day after a season-high 24-point performance Thursday against Auburn, redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin added three with his first bucket coming with 11:23 left in the game and junior F Chandler Parsons added 10 points with a team-high seven rebounds.

“They wanted it more tonight, it was obvious,” Boynton said after the game.

Friday’s loss was UF’s first to an SEC West opponent this season.

All that is left for the Gators is to wait for the NCAA Selection Committee to make its decision on whether or not they are worthy enough to earn a berth to the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Selection Sunday begins on March 14 at 6 p.m. on CBS. OGGOA will provide full coverage of the event.

Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

11 Comments

  1. Phuq werner says:

    Please hurry and graduate Werner, I can’t take anymore

  2. ReptilesRule says:

    Sure hope they make it in, but they could have erased all doubts had they been ready to play. Three years in a row with a weak finish, this year losing last 4 of 5, is a disturbing trend.

  3. gatorspirit says:

    Poor Dan Werner! But enough about him.
    Erving Walker, …what was he thinking as he casually brought the ball up the court with 14 seconds left, then almost got trapped, then forced up a 3-pointer from the parking lot. I can’t wait to see him where he belongs: on the bench! Actually, on another team would be preferable.
    He can’t dribble, drive, pass, shoot or break traps (and FYI, I am NOT exagerating!)!!! In fact, he excells at getting INTO traps! And when he dribbles around, especially when he drives the lane, it’s like he has no plan; he doesn’t know what to do! Even Werner isn’t guilty of that (he simply won’t shoot, and in his case, that’s a good thing!)! What the “H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks” is he (Walker) good for??
    I REALLY hope Brandon Knight is watching Gator games on TV, because he wants to go where he can start soon, and he’s got to know he could sit Walker down quicker than Billy Donovin said “I made a mistake; can I come back?”
    Ciao.

  4. Gatorspirit – I have no idea what your problem is with commenting on this site. NO ONE ELSE is having or has ever had an issue. Send me an e-mail and let’s see if we can work it out – adam@onlygators.com

  5. gatorspirit says:

    Since you deleted my two comments which were inexplicably truncated, perhaps my comment decrying them (10:48 pm time stamp) should also be removed. Leaving it gives the impression I’m referring to my initial comment (time stamped 10:39 pm above it) which was not truncated.

  6. dp says:

    Inconsistency Inconsistency Inconsistency what else is there to say. I sure hope that Rivers kid doesn’t change his mind. But I surely know that Duke is looking much better of an option these days. What the hell has happened to us these past 3 years? Tyus game high-Tyus 5 points…Macklin double double-Macklin 3 points…Parsons is the man- Parsons is a nobody…what we really need is someone with a big set if balls( a la Joakim Noah) to come in and be a real leader! Enough of this garbage! I’m sick of it…I hope they don’t even go to the NIT.

  7. Mitch says:

    Billy has no clue continuing to play Werner. Anyone on the bench is more useful than Werner. I am just sick of watching that guy. Be it NCAA or NIT Werner should NOT play. How pathetic is it that our entire front line can be completely shut down. Tyus,Parsons, Macklin are all so inconsistent it says alot about Billy’s ability to devise a game plan to keep those guys productive. This team is just a cobbled together band of players with no plan to compete at a high level. This season needs to end already.

  8. dp says:

    Gatorspirit, to be fair to the guy that’s providing us FREE Gator awesomeness, as annoying as I can be in some of my comments, Adam never deletes any of them.

  9. gatorspirit says:

    dp,
    I’m wondering if “what[ever] the hell has happened to us these past 3 years” can’t be traced back to Billy’s “stunt” following our second Championship in 2007 (when he left for the NBA and then returned 3 days later).
    After the accomplishments of those two Championship seasons, arguably one of the greatest College Hoops TEAMS in NCAA history (especially 2007!), with no individual “SUPERstars,” we SHOULD have had High School 5-Star Blue Chippers CLAMOURING to be coached by “The New John Wooden” (or so he seemed at the time), and certainly nothing less than 4-Stars!
    I wasn’t following recruiting back then, so I don’t know who our “commitments” were before Billy “left.”
    I wonder if what everyone was rightfully expecting for Gator Football recruitment following Meyer’s about-face happened to Gator Hoops recruitment following Donovan’s about-face?
    Meyer’s incredible success notwithstanding, I’d be surprised if our Hoops recruitment didn’t actually suffer!
    I have yet to research it. Does anyone here have the low-down on this?
    IGTBAG!
    Ciao

  10. gatorspirit says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Dan Werner’s eyes have a perpetual “dear in the headlights” appearance?
    Somewhat reminiscent of the Geico Googly Eyes, too!
    Sorry Dan. Couldn’t resist! Good luck in Europe! Don’t forget to throw down some Gator Chomps!
    Once a Gator, always a Gator!
    Ciao

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