Florida stays hot with win over Ole Miss
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Erik Murphy led a balanced Florida attack with 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor and pulled down six rebounds, as the fourth-ranked Gators remained unbeaten in conference play with a 78-64 victory over No. 16 Ole Miss Saturday at Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
Mike Rosario added 14 points for the Gators (18-2, 8-0 SEC), who won their 10th straight following a Dec. 22 loss at Kansas State. Scottie Wilbekin and Patric Young each registered 13 points, while Wilbekin dished out seven helpers and Young pulled down 12 boards.
Marshall Henderson netted a game-high 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting -- including seven 3-pointers -- for the Rebels (17-4, 6-2), who dropped their second straight after a nine-game win streak. Murphy Holloway donated 15 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
Early in the first half, LaDarius White's layup brought the visitors within 18-12. The Gators quickly opened things up with a 17-3 surge capped off by Rosario's trey and Murphy's tough layup, which made it 35-15 with 5:52 left.
Florida started the game shooting 9-of-15 from the field, while 12 of their first 20 points came from inside the paint. Ole Miss, however, responded by scoring 10 straight unanswered. Henderson, the SEC's leading scorer, nailed back-to-back 3-pointers in a span of 41 seconds, making it 35-25 with 1:30 left before the break.
Wilbekin provided some much-needed momentum with two seconds left in the first half as he hit a corner jumper and the Gators led 40-27.
Henderson started the second half hot, accounting for five of the team's first six points, but the Rebels still trailed, 45-33.
Young's three-point play, followed by Kenny Boynton's smooth layup jump started a 15-4 surge which saw the Gators take a commanding 60-37 advantage with 12 1/2 minutes remaining.
Ole Miss wasn't done yet and flipped a switch defensively, as they limited the home team to just three points over the next four-plus minutes, getting all the way back within 63-50 on Jarvis Summers' three-point play with 7:12 remaining.
Florida, however, and its veteran players bounced back as Murphy's 3-pointer, Young's short jumper and Wilbekin's crafty inbound play -- which he passed the ball off an Ole Miss defender's body and grabbed the ball back for an easy layup -- strengthened the lead back to 20 points, 70-50 with 5:02 to play.
The Gators eased to the win from there and Ole Miss never got any closer than 13 points.
Florida improved to 10-0 at home this season ... Kenny Boynton had nine points and 10 assists ... Ole Miss struggled to find consistency and shot a mere 38.2 percent from the floor, only connecting on 21-of-55 shots ... Florida has won 11 of 12 in the series since the start of the 2002-03 season ... The Gators came in winning seven games by an average of 28.3 points ... The 64 points allowed are the most by the Gators since the loss to Kansas State, in which the Wildcats scored 67 points.
02/02 22:17:56 ET