The Fastbreak: Ole Miss snatches victory from Florida 62-61 in Gainesville

By Adam Silverstein
February 12, 2015

The Ole Miss Rebels did it again, ousting the Florida Gators by a single point in a come-from-behind 62-61 victory on Thursday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

The Gators (12-12, 5-6 SEC) fell to .500 on the year as the Rebels (17-7, 8-3 SEC) improved their national standing. Ole Miss has now defeated Florida twice this season by a single point, previously winning 72-71 in Oxford, Mississippi on Jan. 24.

It is the first time since 1989-90 that the Rebels have swept the Gators in a single season and the first time Florida has registered a pair of three-game losing streaks in a single campaign since 2009-10. The Gators are also .500 or worse in the spring portion of a basketball season for the first time since 1997-98.

“This team will have a very, very, very, very hard time just to have a winning record this year, a very hard time,” said head coach Billy Donovan after the game. breaks down Thursday’s action with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: Florida led by two with 18.4 seconds remaining, but Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody stepped up for the visitors, draining a contested three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to put the Rebels ahead of the Gators for good. UF was unable to get a legitimate shot off on its final two possessions prior to Moody’s three and also failed to do anything on its final touch of the game. Moody had a game-high 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.

“He actually shot the ball from the nose of the alligator, seriously, his heels were on the nose of the alligator,” Donovan began when describing the game’s deciding play. “It was a great defensive stance by us. They had a play on, we took it away, we matched up really well, the floor was disheveled, there was maybe 3-4 seconds to go, they threw it to him, he took one step and just bombed in a shot. That was really the difference in the game, so give him credit for knocking down a big shot when his team needed it.”

Second half significance: Five-straight points from freshman forward Devin Robinson – a corner three and baseline dunk – broke a tie and pushed Florida ahead 54-49 with less than eight minutes to play, but Ole Miss answered right back to continue the back-and-forth battle that was the second half. A trey from Gators F Dorian Finney-Smith gave the hosts a four-point lead late, but UF missed four shots over the final 2:03 of the contest and the visitors took advantage.

“The problem on the two previous [possessions] is we got caught standing, waiting for somebody to make a play. That, for us, is another point for these guys to learn, the fact that we have to do it collectively together and they’ve got to be a team,” Donovan said. “We weren’t moving well enough; we weren’t helping each other, relying on each other. Everyone was waiting for somebody to go make a play instead of trying to make the play collectively as a group.”

First half focus: Robinson kept the Gators in the game early, scoring seven of his team’s first 12 points and going 3-for-3 from the field while the rest of the squad started 2-for-12. But it was junior F Alex Murphy’s five-straight points, including the first three-pointer of his Florida career, that helped push the hosts ahead 31-24 with four minutes to go until the break. UF used six threes in the half to hold onto the advantage and take a 38-33 lead into the locker rooms.

Prominent player: Enjoying a breakout game, Robinson led the way for the Gators with 14 points (on 6-of-9 shooting) and seven boards. He was effective throughout the contest, also registering two blocks, but went a stretch of 16:35 in the middle of the game without attempting a field goal. Finney-Smith nearly matched Robinson play-for-play with a team-high 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks.

Perfect plays: A freshman connection was established in the first half when point guard Chris Chiozza dribbled inside the arc, looked up and found Robinson, who finished at the rim with a two-handed jam. It happened again in the latter 20 minutes when Robinson slammed home another Chiozza alley-oop with authority.

Standout stat: Florida did what it could for most of the game, using turnovers and offensive rebounding to take seven more shots than Ole Miss with each team making 23 baskets. Some difference came at the free throw line, as the Gators made just six on nine shots and the Rebels drained 10 on 13 attempts, but Florida’s continued shooting woes (37.7 percent from the field on the evening) doomed it once again.

“I’d like to have some guys that are able to score. Some of our shooting is really, really unbelievable in a lot of ways,” said Donovan. “It’s just hard when your backcourt shoots those kinds of [poor] numbers. … You try to be positive, you try to be encouraging, you try to get in the gym and try to work with guys. But at some point, somebody’s got to put the ball in the basket. Somebody’s got to make a shot, make a play; somebody’s got to be able to do that.”

What it means: Now at .500 on the season and just 5-6 in SEC play, UF put another nail in its coffin as far as its postseason aspirations are concerned. Florida once again gave away a contest it led late due to its inability to put points on the board.

Next up: The Gators will hit the road to face Texas A&M at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, celebrating Valentine’s Day in College Station, Texas.

Everything else: Florida led the rebounding battle 17-11 to start the game but finished even with Ole Miss at 36 … the Gators led for 28:42, while the Rebels held the advantage for just 5:30 including the final 2.7 seconds … four other Florida players scored at least seven points with sophomore F Chris Walker adding six boards … Chiozza and sophomore PG Kasey Hill each had four assists


  1. Ks Gator says:

    Terrible final play but overall good fight.


  2. Gatoralum88 says:

    Of course it was going to be a 3! Typical!…now almost predictable…&, alas, the final nail in the coffin. On to Gator baseball season which starts tomorrow. Go Gators!

  3. Ken (CA) says:

    not much to say here 2-5 in games decided by 5 points or less. They just don’t know how to finish, and that was a miracle 3 that was contested they should have been rewarded for that specific play, but it didn’t have to come down to that.

    On the bright side, maybe Devin Robinson has finally started to figure it out and start reaching his immense talent potential. I will continue to root for this team, but at this point it is a miracle SEC tourney run to get them to NCAA, and if they lose more than 1-2 more games outside of UK they won’t even get NIT. Time to watch the cute ladies on the balance beam and on the diamond.

    If you toss out MBB and WBB, every other spring sport we are top 10, most we are top 5 and many we are #1

  4. Michael Jones says:

    Come on, now, the final shot being a ridiculous 3 point prayer instead of taking it strong to the hole and possibly getting fouled? That’s Billy Ball, baby!! Been that way for years. Butler Elite 8. . Louisville Elite 8. . etc., etc.

    Soft. With few exceptions, a bunch of soft, self-absorbed prima donnas more worried about “getting theirs” than playing the game with heart and anything that vaguely resembles a basketball IQ. We need to recruit more men, and fewer pretty boys.

    Where are all of you basketball experts who called me a traitor and a troll for saying after the William and Mary game that it was going to be a long season? Man-up much?

    • gatorboi352 says:

      Go to bed, Michael. You’re drunk. Or at least I hope you are after having read this comment. Billy is the best coach this university has ever seen. One .500 year in the last 16 ain’t too shabby.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        geez, I hate to agree with GB although I guess I do once in a while, but he is right.

        I am so disgusted with so many that complain about the “Billy Ball” system. He isn’t getting everyone to shoot 3s all the time, he is trying to figure out how to best use the people he has. Unlike so many comments here about who he recruits and how they play, he recruits a ton of folks, and he takes those that will play, he can’t do anything about those that say no, so he ha to work with the cards he has been dealt.

        It sickens me that you all often take him to task for doing the best he can and complain that we play “billy ball”… we have tried to get many of the top recruits to fill needs and they have chosen other places, he has done incredible with what he can work with.

        I am really frustrated more with you so called “fans” than the team. They are learning and getting better but Gator basketball was almost nothing before BD got here, and now you complain about his style that has won 2 NC, multiple finale 4, elite 8, etc. Some of you are very embarrassing.

        • Michael Jones says:

          lol . . you guys crack me up. I guess that Billy, like Foley, can’t even be criticized now? I’m not advocating firing him, for pete’s sake. I just wish he’d make a few changes in his recruiting and approach. A few tweaks.

          Look, I love Billy D. as a person and he has done some GREAT things here. Never said his teams weren’t talented, but they are rarely very tough and drawing up last shots is not Billy’s strong point. Look-em up and be honest about it rather than attacking me personally.

          We are soft. Like marshmallows. We have historically over-relied on the 3 and eschewed (that’s your vocabulary word for the day, gatorboi. . you’re welcome) the big man or driving the ball to the hole. I like tough smart basketball. The kind that Izzo coaches and UVA plays. Billy D. is a great person. Just not a fan of Billy Ball. So sue me.

          You disagree with me. That’s cool. That’s what comment boards are all about.

          • Ken (CA) says:

            Well yea. It gets annoying when all you do all the time is criticize “Billy Ball” as you call it. You just keep saying the same thing over and over and it is very clear you would prefer another coach and you don’t like his style of coaching. We get it. His teams are soft with a few exceptions, blah, blah, blah. I guess 2 national champs, 1 nat runner up, 2 other final 4s 3 elite 8 isn’t good enough for you. that is almost 50% of his teams making deep tourney runs. For “most of his teams being soft with a few exceptions” that’s pretty phenomenal success. Some might even call it “unprecedented”. He is the 2nd winningest SEC coach of all time.

            So yea, your constant criticism of “Billy Ball” is pretty much a joke and just annoying to hear over and over.

            • Michael Jones says:

              That’s because the same thing keeps happening over and over again out on the court. And I don’t really care if you are annoyed or if you think my comments are, as you call it, a “joke.”

              I always get a laugh when some officious, condescending blow hard presumes to employ the royal “we.” That says plenty.

              Did I mention that Billy Ball is soft? Deal with it, and if you’re tired of it, then stop reading my comments because I’m going to say what I’m going to say regardless of how pissy you get about it. S-O-F-T.

            • Michael Jones says:

              I also consider Billy’s impressive statistics to be the result of a guy who can recruit fairly well (plus, as we all know, UF recruits itself) and runs a decent, disciplined program from an administrative standpoint. But Billy’s teams tend to be the dichotomy of talented enough to get a lead but not tough enough to hold it. A few years ago at Arizona, this year at Kansas, home this year against Miami and Connecticut, and the two Elite 8 losses to Butler and Louisville (we just ran into a hotter, better team in Michigan a few tourneys ago so I don’t count that one. . after all, can’t win’em all) being examples of what I’m talking about.

              A lot of that is due to coaching, whether you like it or not. Those things don’t happen as consistently as they do to us to well-coached teams. Sorry. I hate to have to say that because I too am a dichotomy in that I love Billy D. the person but can barely stand to watch his soft, low basketball IQ teams play. And I am not alone.

              • uf_84 says:

                Actually I think you pretty much are alone on this one. You are obviously too young to remember our BB program before Billy D got here.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      Damn browser… oh well, it almost needed to be said twice lol

      Seriously though Adam, what’s up with this website’s archaic commenting system?

  5. SW Fl Joe says:

    At this rate the women just might finish with more wins than the men.

  6. apprentice says:

    I blame Muschamp.

  7. 1974Gator says:

    I’m most concerned about the lack of crafty guard play. Billy Ball starts there. Except for SG Carter we get no offense out of them. Our half court offense spends 10-20+ seconds passing the ball aimlessly around the perimeter and when Chiozza or Hill drive they either get stuffed or miss a feeble shot. The pick and roll is a non-existent weapon this year. I couldn’t believe the bricks they threw up from 3 pt. range. If they are not going to score at least get the assist! 4-5 assists/game each are not enough out of those two.

    • 1974Gator says:

      Should have said “crafty point guard play” and left SG Carter (and by association Frazier) out of the post.

    • Michael Jones says:

      You’re absolutely right. We get the “pick” part, but our guards don’t understand the “roll” part, or they would have a lot more assists to the open man cutting to the hoop. C. Walker has been wide open so many times on that charge to the basket this season, but our guards don’t see it.

      You’re also right about the aimless passing around the perimeter–which eats up shot clock and you can defend with little effort–rather than a smart, calculated attack on the basket. The closer you are to the hoop, the easier the shot and the more likely you are to get fouled. Those VERY BASIC points are lost on this team.

      Billy Ball involves too many dudes standing around watching the guy dribbling. Drives me crazy. What happened to moving without the ball? Getting guys open by setting picks off the ball? Back door cuts? Making the defense move their frigging feet? WTH?

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