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Gators Grab Win Over Rebs in Final Minutes, 72-63

Gators Grab Win Over Rebs in Final Minutes, 72-63

For thirty-five minutes of Tuesday night’s game in Gainesville, Ole Miss outplayed the Florida Gators. It was a hard-fought game on both sides, but unfortunately for the Rebels thirty five minutes isn’t quite good enough. In the closing minutes, Ole Miss struggled and the game ended on a 14-0 Gator run.

“Give Florida credit. They out-toughed us in the last four minutes,” head coach Kermit Davis said after his team lost, 63-72. 

The Rebels began the game with a new starting five that featured the addition of Khadim Sy and Austin Crowley into the lineup. (Click here for box score.)

But as the Rebs have done several times this season, they started off cold from the field and watched the Gators jump out to a 21-11 lead. Ole Miss would close the gap and gain momentum heading into halftime with some help from the bench who scored twelve in the first half.

The second half saw the Rebels take the lead and extend it out to nine points, 61-52, with 5:28 left in the second half. Offensively for Ole Miss, Devontae Shuler and Romello White had bounce-back performances as Shuler finished with 19 and White added 10.

But soon after that, with 3:54 left in the contest, things changed. Florida’s Colin Castleton would make two free throws and the Gators’ defense would turn things up a notch, making it tough for Ole Miss to get a solid shot — and even tougher to feed the ball into Romello White.

Noah Locke would make a three, and Tre Mann would sink four free throws to all but ice the game after a Kermit Davis technical and preceding White foul.

“They had more juice than us in the last five minutes,” Shuler said. 

This marks the third SEC loss for the season for the Rebels. Asked if there was a common denominator for these losses Davis pointed to three things.

We can’t guard the dribble, can’t get the 50/50 balls, and can’t make the timely shots and we’ve got ’em in all three games.

Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis

Florida was led by Castleton, a Michigan transfer. The Gator big would finish with 21 points, 10 boards, and 7 blocks as he did a good job protecting the rim on a lot of Rebel attacks. Tre Mann would add 17 and Noah Locke would put up 15 for Florida.

The Gators improve to 6-3 on the season and 3-2 in SEC play. The Rebels now drop to 6-5 and 1-3 in league play. This marks the fourth loss for the Rebels in the last five contests, dating back to the December 29th loss to Alabama.

Coach Davis’ team is slated to take the court Saturday back in Oxford against a 7-3 Georgia team. That contest will be televised on ESPN2.

Ending on a Positive

This may have been the best conference offensive performance we have seen from the Rebels on the year, especially if you eliminate the final four minutes. The Rebels shot 46% from deep for the night, making 6-of-13.

Ole Miss also made a strong adjustment coming out of the half as the Gators had scored 11 points off of Ole Miss six turnovers in the first half. In the second half, the Rebels would only turn the ball over twice. We also saw good minutes from the bench tonight, and in total had nine guys who played over nine minutes for the Rebels — including Dimencio Vaughn who played well in twelve minutes.

“We played together tonight, moved the ball on offense and stayed patient. No one was really hunting shots,” Shuler said when asked if he had any positives to take away from the game.  

About The Author

TJ Oxley

TJ Oxley is a current MBA student at Ole Miss after having earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Toledo. He currently covers college hoops and the NBA Draft for the Basketball Society as well as all things Ole Miss for The Rebel Walk.

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