Florida falls at Ole Miss, 68-51

Florida coach Mike White. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey, File)

OXFORD, Miss. — This time, Florida couldn’t overcome a double-digit deficit to fall to Mississippi, 68-51, in SEC men’s basketball play Saturday.

The Gators (14-9, 6-4 SEC), who overcame a 22-point deficit to beat Georgia on Wednesday, went down 9-7 at 16:01 of the first half and didn’t see the lead again the rest of the way, as the Rebels (12-11, 3-7) avenged a 71-55 loss to UF on Jan. 14 in Gainesville.

“It’s unfortunate we’re a team that puts ourselves in that position,” Florida coach Mike White said. “When you make these comebacks, you feel great about the results but not great about the whole 40 minutes. Tonight our goal was to play the whole 40 and it would’ve taken that to win. We played well for about 25.”

Florida managed to trim a 13-point deficit by going on a 8-2 run late in the first half to trail just 33-27 at the break. UF fell behind thanks again to inconsistent shooting, making only 9 of 26 shots.

“They defended better than us. They rebounded better than us. They coached better than us,” White said. “We’ve got to ask ourselves as a team why are we down 22? Why are we down like we were today? They played better than us.”

The Gators came within two points at 35-33 early in the second half, but the Rebels went on a 13-3 run for a 48-36 lead at the 12:04 mark sparked by four UF turnovers.

Mississippi was in control the rest of the game. Florida struggled offensively with 15 turnovers and shot 18 of 54 (33.3%) from the field and 5 of 23 (21%) from beyond the arc. The Rebels outscored Florida 16-7 off the turnovers.

“We’ve totally shifted our focus to February and our players have bought into that,” Rebs coach Kermit Davis said. “We never felt like we were not a good team, it just did not show on our record. We kept working and now we’ve built confidence with a couple of wins.

“We defended today for 40 minutes; the best we’ve defended all year long.”

Keyontae Johnson led Florida with 16 points and Kerry Blackshear added 11. Breein Tyree, who didn’t play in the January game vs. UF with a lower back injury, led Ole Miss with 23 points, while Devontae Shuler and KJ Buffen each scored 14.

It was an unhappy homecoming for White, a former Ole Miss captain and four-year starter at point guard, who led the Rebels to a pair of SEC West Division titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances.

UF sophomore guard Andrew Nembhard went out with 1:21 left in the first half with a foot injury, but returned in the second half.

Florida next plays at Texas A&M at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (SEC Network).

FLORIDA (14-9)

Blackshear 3-8 5-5 11, Johnson 5-10 5-6 16, Lewis 3-6 0-0 7, Locke 3-9 0-0 8, Nembhard 2-9 0-0 5, Mann 0-6 0-0 0, Glover 0-2 0-0 0, Jitoboh 1-2 0-0 2, Payne 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 18-54 10-11 51.


Buffen 6-8 2-2 14, Sy 2-8 2-2 6, Shuler 5-9 2-2 14, Tyree 9-19 1-2 23, Hinson 3-8 2-2 9, Collum 1-1 0-0 2, Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Crowley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 9-10 68.

Halftime_Mississippi 33-27. 3-Point Goals_Florida 5-23 (Locke 2-6, Lewis 1-1, Johnson 1-3, Nembhard 1-5, Glover 0-1, Blackshear 0-3, Mann 0-4), Mississippi 7-16 (Tyree 4-6, Shuler 2-5, Hinson 1-3, Buffen 0-1, Sy 0-1). Rebounds_Florida 30 (Johnson 10), Mississippi 29 (Buffen 9). Assists_Florida 9 (Blackshear, Nembhard 3), Mississippi 16 (Shuler 5). Total Fouls_Florida 10, Mississippi 13.


  1. Well folks I think that about does it for the chances to get to the NCAA tournament. We will easily have 12 to 13 losses. The Mike White experiment hasn’t gone as planned. Why wait till the end of next year to fire him, you’re just wasting more time. Go ahead and take your poison, admit to your mistake in hiring this boob and move on. He’ll be hired quickly as an Athletic Director. He has no business in coaching. Are you listening Scott?

  2. I tried to convince myself that maybe it’s just youth and inexperience,but now i think it falls mainly on coaching. i’m starting to have second thoughts about Mike Whites ability to coach a championship program. i do hope i’m wrong.

    • I hear ya, Sly, but when you go 5-23 from 3-point range, it seems that somebody would come to the conclusion that they should stop shooting. Nembhard, Glover, Blackshear, and Mann combined to go 1-11. Unbelievable to be at less than 10% and still shooting.

      With this team, for most of the players it seems a 3 is little more than a prayer. When they do get hot, they usually win, but those games are few and far between.

      I think if they can get to 10-8 in conference they can still get to the dance. It’s doable, but there’s very little room for error. Go Gators!!!

      • Yeah, I think the problem with this team is psychological. Sometimes they shoot with confidence, sometimes not in the flow. It may be too late if White hasn’t made the call, but he needs to bring in a sports psychologist to work on their psyche.

  3. (11-11, 2-7) and you get beat by 17 points, no matter where you play that should not happen. The Gators have too much talent. Their biggest issue is style of play for the team he has. Until Mike White changes his style of play you will continue to see this type of outcome and it is really boring basketball to watch.

  4. Surprise, Surprise. Nembhard shoots 9 times and they lose. What did I say yesterday? He needs to shoot at least 15 shots every game (and 20 would be better). And, because they don’t move without the ball, he can’t get more than 5 assists. Anyone who thinks a point guard isn’t supposed to score a lot never heard of, or doesn’t remember Bob Cousy, Walt Frazier, Isaiah Thomas or Oscar Robertson (who pretty much led the league in scoring, but that was before they even called them point guards and he didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to shoot). If you look it up, you will see that the New York Knicks won two championships moving without the ball and playing defense and for a long time Princeton (Princeton?) went to the later rounds of the NCAA tournament year after year by moving without the ball. Maybe Coach White thought that recruiting all of those 4 and 5 star players all he had to do was toss the ball onto the court and they would score and they would win because he was teaching them to play defense. They ain’t going to score and they ain’t going to win when most of them stand around waiting for someone to pass them the ball when they are open only because the man covering them went to double someone else who made it look like he was going to shoot (that is unless they let Nembhard shoot 15 to 20 times a game). The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting the result to change. What does that say about Coach Mike White?
    And anyone who thinks the Gators are going to get to the NCAA with their current offensive system is either smoking dope or doesn’t know anything about basketball. And if they actually get there, they ain’t getting past the 2d round and that far only if they run into a pushover in the 1st. When, next year, after Coach White has 3 really talented Juniors and 5 or six talented Sophomores (assuming that he doesn’t have a mass defection) and they are joined by 4 or 5 talented Freshman, and they still run his motionless offense and have a mediocre, but slightly winning team, perhaps the Athletic Director might get the point.

  5. All the above posts are pretty much right on and well said. How could a team look so good down 22 to UGA and win and then lay an egg in the next game? Against UGA the Gators had to go up-tempo and it worked successfully, but this is not their regular style, which is the opposite (down-tempo?). This slow methodical offense may work half the time…..and not the other half. So they end up with as many losses as wins and there goes March Madness.

  6. It’s Bradenton Ricky. I coached international bball for 22 years. White cannot fit schemes to what he has on the court. I am sorry as is he nice guy. But this is the NCAA and results mean profits and more tV appearances. I am sorry but in my opinion his time –has come–and gone.
    If you got the horses like he has, he should be in a run-and-gun, not a half-court trance. To score just 51 against Ole Miss is freaking EMBARRASING. i have defended him long enough. This is big-time college ball at a school where Bill D raIsed the bar. Is it too high for White?
    I also do not see ANYONE player who can step and be a leader. This is a joke. From pre-season ranking of 6 down to somewhere in the 200s out of 332 Div. I teams is freaking embarrasing. Can anyone spell NIT? This team is consistently INCONSISTENT. SEE YOU GUYS IN LATE AUGUST.