Florida Survives Seesaw OT Thriller vs Ole Miss

GAINESVILLE-- In a see-saw battle that needed an extra five minutes to determine a winner, the Florida Gators (12-8 4-3 SEC) beat the Mississippi Rebels 90-86 in overtime on Wednesday night.

Florida, who entered the game looking to rebound from a loss, fell behind 4-0 & didn't get its first basket until nearly three minutes were gone in the first half. That first basket was a three pointer by guard Andrew Nembhard & after a dunk by forward Keyontae Johnson, the Gators had their first lead of the game. Nembhard added a layup to make the Gators run seven straight points.

Both teams struggled the next 90 seconds with the Rebels scoring the only point on a free throw by guard Terrence Davis. And over one minute later, the Rebels grabbed a one point lead on a three pointer by forward K.J. Buffen.

The Rebels (14-5 4-3 SEC) took the lead up to three after a layup by forward Bruce Stevens but the Gators stopped that 5-0 run when forward Kevarrius Hayes hit a jumper.

After two free throws by Davis, the two teams traded baskets with Florida tying the score at 14 after a three pointer by guard Noah Locke. And after Rebels center Dominik Olejniczak hit his second layup, Johnson hit a three pointer to give Florida a 17-16 lead with just over 8 minutes left in the first half.

Two straight baskets by the Rebels led to another lead change & made the score 20-17. The Gators got one of those baskets back on a layup by Hayes. And after two free throws by Rebels guard Devontae Shuler, the Gators cut the deficit to one when guard Jalen Hudson hit his first three pointer of the game.

Florida took a 25-23 lead after an old-fashioned three point play by forward Dontay Bassett. But four straight free throws by Davis gave the Rebels the lead again. And after jumper by Locke tied the score again at 27, Davis went back to the line & hit one of two free throws.

Trailing 28-27 with just under two minutes left in the half, the Gators backcourt got six points from its backcourt to outscore the Rebels by four in the final two minutes in the first half to take a 33-30 lead into the locker room.

In the first 20 minutes of the game, neither team shot well from the floor or from behind the three point line. The only major difference was on the boards where the Rebels outrebounded the Gators 21-14.

The final 20 minutes started with Florida adding to their three point lead when Hayes hit a jumper & was fouled for a three point play. But trailing by six, the Rebels scored five straight points including a three pointer by Davis. And after Johnson hit a layup for the Gators, the Rebels tied the score at 38 with their own old-fashioned three point play from Buffen.

The final 20 minutes started with Florida adding to their three point lead when Hayes hit a jumper & was fouled for a three point play. But trailing by six, the Rebels scored five straight points including a three pointer by Davis. And after Johnson hit a layup for the Gators, the Rebels tied the score at 38 with their own old-fashioned three point play from Buffen.

Seven straight points including a three pointer by Locke gave Florida their largest lead. But a layup by Stevens stopped the seven straight points by the Gators & started a 12-4 run that gave the Rebels a one point lead with 11 minutes left in the game.

The Rebels run continued with a three pointer from Davis, who led all players with 26 points. And after a free throw by Hudson got the Gators another point, the Rebels lead got bumped up to five after a layup by Buffen. But the Gators made their own push in this see-saw battle when they scored seven points in less than 90 seconds to tie the score at 57.

Over the next four minutes, both teams committed multiple turnovers but with just under five minutes left in the game, the Gators were able to take a one point lead, after two free throws by Hayes. But that lead only lasted to the next Rebels possession because guard Breein Tyree hit a three pointer. And the Rebels made it a four point lead after Shuler pushed the ball up the court for a transition layup.

With less than four minutes left in the game, the Gators went on a 7-2 run to take a one point lead but with less than 90 seconds the Rebels grabbed the lead again when Davis made a bucket on a power post up move to make the score 72-71. And with under a minute left in the game, two free throws by Buffen gave the Rebels a three point lead.

A basket by Nembhard got the Gators within one but two free throws by Tyree with 8 seconds left made the lead three again. And that's when on their final possession in regulation Allen hit a three pointer to send the game into overtime.

Florida won the jump ball to start overtime & on that first possession, Locke, who led the Gators with 22 points, took a pass from Allen & drained a three pointer. That three pointer was matched by Tyree to tie the score at 79. But a 7-0 run that included four points by Allen & a three pointer by Nembhard, gave the Gators lead halfway through overtime.

Four straight points by the Rebels cut the Gators lead to three but two free throws by Nembhard made the score 88-83. And despite a turnover underneath their own basket, which lead to a Rebels basket, the Gators were able to hold on for the four point win.

Florida will look for another conference win when they host the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday. Pre-game starts on WDAE at 3:25 pm with tip-off scheduled for 4 pm.

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