The Florida Gators basketball team (11-6, 3-2 SEC) took down Ole Miss (12-5, 2-3 SEC) with an 80-71 performance to give Ole Miss its first loss in their new arena on Saturday night in Oxford, Mississippi.
It was the first time the Gators have won on the road since November 13 at Navy.
Once again KeVaughn Allen made a lasting impression as a true freshman, totaling out with 27 points and 6 rebounds. He managed to outscore the fourth best scorer in the nation, Stefan Moody, who finished the night with 22 points. Allen was 9-11 from the field and 6-7 from behind the arc.
Three other Gators scored in double digits—Kasey Hill with 11 and John Egbunu with 10—and Dorian Finney-Smith with 17 and 10 rebounds, making for his fourth double-double of the season. One player whose contribution was key to the Gators’ success was Chris Chiozza who ended up distributing 9 assists with his spectacular passing game.
From the tip, the Gators came ready to take the upset victory over the Rebels with a flying start. Dorian Finney-Smith set the tone for Florida when he made the first basket of the game from downtown just 20 seconds in.
From there, Florida went on an 8-0 run before Ole Miss was able to put any points up. The Rebels were only able to make one basket by Sebsastian Saiz before the Gators went off on a run ending with a 13-point lead after a dunk by John Egbunu with 16:33 left in the half.
The Gators were able to get as far as 17 points ahead of the Rebels, holding Ole Miss to a shooting percentage of 38% from the field in the first half. The closest that the Rebels got to closing the score gap was still in double-digits at 10 points.
However, that Rebs comeback did not last for long as the Gators were committed to making this a 40-minute basketball game and pulled away once again. The half ended with Florida in the driver’s seat with a 19-point lead at 49-30.
Coming back from the locker room, Florida had the same fire they had under them from the first half. Determined to not let another game get away from them, John Egbunu laid one in to give the Gators a 21-point lead.
The baskets went back and forth until Stefan Moody started getting hot with back-to-back treys. This cut Florida’s lead down to 15 points with 16:14 left in the game.
The remainder of the game Ole Miss just could not get things to go their way, only coming within a single-digit deficit once. The closest they got in the second half was 9 points shy of tying the game.
In the end, the Gators were finally able to pull off a 40-minute basketball game that allowed them to take the road win with a final score of 80-71.
Florida will have the chance to take a short break before taking on Mississippi State at home in Gainesville, Florida on Tuesday the 19th. Tip off is set for 7pm on ESPNU and as always, join GatorCountry for full updates and coverage.