Fastbreak: No. 2 Florida tops Ole Miss 75-71, starts program-best 25-2 while eyeing No. 1 spot

Playing strong defense and shutting out their opponent’s best player in the second half, the No. 2 Florida Gators (25-2, 14-0 SEC) have officially started the 2013-14 season with the best record in program history by defeating the Ole Miss Rebels (16-11, 7-7 SEC) on Saturday afternoon at the Tad Smith Coliseum in Oxford, MS.

Florida topped Ole Miss 75-71, extending a program-best winning streak with its 19th-straight victory while surpassing the 2006-07 squad that started its season with a 24-2 (11-0 SEC) record. UF also improved to 12-2 this season in single-digit decisions (0-6 last year) and 9-2 in true road games.

OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: UF lost the half-high eight-point lead it achieved late in the second half, but senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin got it right back for his team with a runner off the glass with two minutes to play.

Prominent player: Wilbekin took a few too many threes on the afternoon, settling for long shots when the offense stalled, but nevertheless led the Gators with a team-high 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting (4-for-10 from deep). He also had seven assists though did commit five turnovers on the afternoon.

Significant stretch: Trailing by one with 8:42 to play, Florida took off on a 10-2 run that gave it a seven-point lead at 66-59 with 4:08 remaining. Senior center Patric Young led the way during the stretch with four points (two on free throws), improving to 24-for-32 from the line over his last seven games (.750). [Here's why.] Young posted 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting with five rebounds.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 2 Florida tops Ole Miss 75-71, starts program-best 25-2 while eyeing No. 1 spot

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Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators at Ole Miss – Wilbekin, Henderson primed for early tip-off

Location: Tad Smith Coliseum – Oxford, MS [Capacity: 8,867]
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST

TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Doug Gottlieb) [Coverage Map]
SiriusXM: 113/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(2) FLORIDA GATORS OLE MISS REBELS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Andy Kennedy
Record: 24-2 (13-0 SEC) Record: 16-10 (7-6 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -7 | O/U: OFF

HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS

» Florida leads Ole Miss 61-43 in the all-time series, holding a 14-7 record under Donovan. Though UF is 21-28 on the road at Mississippi, the Gators are 5-3 under Donovan with back-to-back victories and 11 wins in the last 13 meetings.
» UF is in the midst of setting a number of program records this season. Florida has won a school-record 18-straight games (23 of its last 24), posted a program-best 13-0 start in SEC play and started the season 24-2, matching the school’s all-time mark for best overall start in school history (2006-07).
» The Gators have also won 30 consecutive home games and 15-in-a-row against league opponents in the O’Dome, both school records.
» Florida is 76-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 11-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. Florida is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators are 8-2 in true road games this season with both losses coming against ranked opponents during the first month of the season. UF lost those contests by a combined seven points.

Read about Saturday’s featured match-up and more on Florida-Ole Miss…
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators at Ole Miss – Wilbekin, Henderson primed for early tip-off

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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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Gators outlast Rebels for big 64-61 road win

Powered by a career-high 22 points from redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin, the Florida Gators (19-8, 8-4 SEC) held on for a much-needed 64-61 road win over the Ole Miss Rebels (17-9, 5-7 SEC) at Tad Smith Coliseum in Oxford, MS, on Saturday afternoon. Macklin, who was 7-for-8 for 16 points in the first half, finished 8-of-11 with seven rebounds while going an uncharacteristic 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

As a team, the Gators shot their best from the charity stripe, hitting 25-of-27 attempts (92.6 percent). Florida’s frontcourt once again led the way, accounting for 48 of the team’s 64 points (36 of its first 42). Conversely, the Gators were atrocious from downtown, finishing on only one of 13 attempts from beyond the arc – a rare made three by senior forward Dan Werner. Had Werner not connected, Florida would have gone without a made three-pointer for the first time in over 16 years (604 games).

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Gators vs. Rebels game story after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gators outlast Rebels for big 64-61 road win

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Gameday: Florida Gators at Ole Miss Rebels

Location: C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum – Oxford, MS [Capacity: 8,700]
Time: 12:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS / CBSHD
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Live Updates: OGGOA on Twitter

Florida Gators Ole Miss Rebels
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Andy Kennedy
Record: 18-8, 7-4 SEC Record: 17-8, 5-6 SEC
Division: SEC East Division: SEC West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +4.5, O/U 144.5

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» The dynamic backcourt of…sophomore point guard Erving Walker and freshman guard Kenny Boynton who are averaging 30.8 points and 7.6 assists per game in conference play this season.
» Speaking of Walker and Boynton…they have hit 52 of the Gators’ 66 treys in SEC play.
» Junior forward Alex Tyus…who is dominating the front court, has reached double figures in 15 of 17 games and scored 15+ in eight of those.
» Junior F Chandler Parsons…who has two double-doubles over his last four games, has also been helping dish the ball and run the point. He is averaging 15.8 points and 9.3 rebounds over those same four games.
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 11-2 when the redshirt junior transfer center finishes in double figures.
» Guard Chris Warren…who leads the Rebels with a team-high 16.5 points per game.

STREAKS:
» Florida leads the all-time series against Ole Miss 57-42, winning seven out of the last eight in the series. They are 10-6 against this opponent under Billy Donovan
» However, the last time the Gators visited the Rebels they lost 89-87 after being down 16 in the second half. UF is only 3-3 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
» Florida is 5-0 against the SEC West in 2010, 49-16 (20-12 on the road) since 2000.
» A win Saturday would give the Gators its first 6-0 sweep of the SEC West since 2003 and its most road wins since 2006-07.
» Florida is 5-3 in games decided by five points or less compared to 4-6 in such games last season. UF is 4-1 in the last five contests that were that close.
» The Gators have outrebounded seven of its last nine conference opponents and is 12-2 overall when out-rebounding an opponent in 2010.
» After shooting just 47.8 percent from the charity stripe (22-of-46) over its previous two games, Florida went 32-for-40 (80 percent) from the line Thursday.
» Six of the Gators’ eight losses on the season have come from teams with RPIs currently inside the top 28 (five from teams ranked 19 or higher).
» Ole Miss took down then-No. 7 Kansas State in November and is averaging more than 80.0 points per game at home.

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