Fastbreak: Ole Miss snaps Florida basketball’s six-game win streak

By Adam Silverstein
January 13, 2018
Fastbreak: Ole Miss snaps Florida basketball’s six-game win streak

Image Credit: ESPN Images

Florida Gators basketball (12-5, 4-1 SEC) suffered a tough road loss on Saturday, falling 78-72 to the Ole Miss Rebels (10-7, SEC) in Oxford, Mississippi. The Gators led by as many as eight points in the second half but went ice cold down the stretch and were certainly not helped any by what appeared to be a game called extremely one-sided

Let’s take a look at UF’s latest loss in Fastbreak:

It was over when … Florida trailed by four with less than a minute to play when, after senior point guard Chris Chiozza stole an inbounds pass, redshirt sophomore guard Keith Stone chose not to shoot an open three and instead drive to the hoop. Ole Miss drew an offensive foul as Stone shoved his defender, and the Rebels made three straight free throws to go up seven with 40 seconds remaining.

Exceptional effort: None.

An officiating problem: For as poorly as Florida played (see below), the Gators were playing two-on-one much of the game due to an officiating crew that called a game as one-sided as Florida fans have likely seen for a contest not played inside Rupp Arena. Not only did officials blow a baseline out of bounds call on redshirt sophomore G Jalen Hudson during a clutch possession when he was three inches inbounds, nearly every 50/50 call in the second half went Ole Miss’ way with the exception of a single charge call that would’ve sidelined Hudson with his fifth foul. These officiating decisions took possessions away from the Gators, which they desperately needed considering they put forth yet another bad shooting performance, and gave the Rebels additional opportunities to put points on the scoreboard.

Important injury: Already severely thin in the frontcourt, UF took a blow early in the game when sophomore center Gorjok Gak took an elbow to the face and suffered a concussion. Ole Miss shot free throws on the play (see above) and Gak never returned as it was announced he would be sidelined for the remainder of the contest at halftime.

Odds and ends: Florida shot an abhorrent .377 from the field on Saturday, going 2 for 12 to end the first half and 1 for 8 to end the second half … Stone led the way for the Gators with a game-high 23 points but only because he made 13-of-18 free throws … Hudson went 4-for-7 from the floor but registered five fouls (as did Stone) … graduate transfer G Egor Koulechov made a couple big shots and grabbed 11 boards but went just 4-of-15 from the field … Chiozza had one of his worst games of the season despite a couple standout plays, going 3-for-10 from the field and 1-for-5 from long range without a single free throw … Ole Miss made 22 of its 26 free throws and outrebounded Florida 44-35 on the afternoon

What it means: The Gators clearly lost a game they should have won despite being without Gak and suffering through a terrible half of officiating. If Florida had simply taken higher-quality shots and made fewer mistakes, it certainly could have won this game. Instead, UF’s six-game winning streak was snapped and it fell to second in the SEC behind Auburn, the lone remaining undefeated team in league play.

Up next: After playing three of its last four games on the road, Florida will get three of its next four at home, starting with Arkansas on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET in a game that will air live on ESPN2. UF wraps up next week heading to face Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Saturday at 8:15 p.m.

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