Florida 69, Ole Miss 58 Final
Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 10:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 10:03 p.m.
Sophomore Taurean Green (Ft. Lauderdale) had 17 points and sophomore Al Horford (Puerto Plata, Dominica Republic) added 14 to lead No. 8 Florida to a 69-58 win over Mississippi on Tuesday night.
The Gators (19-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) led by as many as 15, shot nearly 54 percent and snapped a two-game road losing streak despite playing for the first time without their top long-range shooter.
Junior Lee Humphrey (Maryville, Tenn.), the team's top defender and 3-point shooter, separated his left shoulder in a bicycling accident and is out for at least a week.
Florida also didn't have a healthy Corey Brewer (Portland, Tenn.), who was slowed by a sprained right ankle. Brewer came off the bench for just the second time in his career, and was held scoreless on 0-for-1 shooting in 18 minutes, three days after he was held to a then-season-worst three points in a home win against Vanderbilt.
The rest of the Gators picked up the slack. Green had 11 points in the first half, and David Huertas (Humacao, Puerto Rico) scored seven points early in the second half. Huertas' free throw with 11:23 to play gave Florida a 53-38 lead.
The Rebels trimmed the lead to 61-56 on a steal and dunk by Clarence Sanders with 1:36 left but couldn't get any closer.
Florida's Walter Hodge (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) drove the length of the court for a layup 11 seconds later and the Gators made six of six free throws in the final 1:01 to clinch their second straight victory after losses at Tennessee and South Carolina.
The Gators were 17-of-18 from the free-throw line -- 8-of-8 in the second half -- and scored 21 points off 19 Ole Miss turnovers.
Sanders had 16 points and freshman Trey Hampton added 11 for the Rebels (13-7, 3-4), who have lost four straight since a seven-game winning streak included a 3-0 start in SEC play.
Hodge finished with 10 points for Florida, which led by as many as 10 in the first half after going 6 minutes between field goals. After that cold spell, the Gators hit three 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes -- a spurt capped when Green's 3-pointer with 21 seconds left made it 36-26.
Sanders hit an off-balance 3 in the closing seconds to make it 36-29 at halftime. Ole Miss had nearly as many turnovers (10) as baskets (12) in the first half.
Florida returns home to face Kentucky on Saturday at the O’Connell Center in a nationally televised game beginning at 9 p.m.
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