Jacksonville Sports Day

SEC: Gators Too Tall a Task for Short-Handed Rebels; Get White’s 100th Win

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Ole Miss men’s basketball team was without two starters Tuesday night, including leading scorer Breein Tyree due to injury.

A road test short-handed proved to be a tall order, and the Rebels (9-7, 0-3) fell to the Florida Gators 71-55.

The Gators earned their 100th win under head coach Mike White, who attains the milestone in 158 games, the 2nd-fastest to 100 wins in Florida history.

White reached 100 wins just four games behind Billy Donovan’s pace (154). No Florida coach has reached the mark sooner than 170 games.

Keyontae Johnson led the way for Florida with 15 points, while Kerry Blackshear Jr. came one rebound shy of a double-double with 13 points and 9 rebounds.

Noah Locke made multiple 3-pointers for the 13th straight game, the longest such streak by a Gator during the White/Donovan era (since 1996).

After falling behind 22-19, the Gators responded by making nine consecutive field goals to take a 40-28 lead into halftime.

Scottie Lewis extended his made free throws streak to 25 before missing one late in the second half. It marked the longest free throw streak by a Gator over the past two seasons.

In his return to his home state, Rebels’ sophomore Blake Hinson produced his first career double-double.

The Deltona, Florida, native tallied 16 points to go along with a career-high 11 rebounds.

Fellow classmate KJ Buffen scored a team-high 20 points for his third 20-point game of the season. He found most of his success at the free throw line, going 10 of 11.

As a team, Florida shot 54 percent (27 of 50) from the field and controlled the paint with 44 points.

With two starters missing action, Breein Tyree and Khadim Sy, Florida jumped out to an early double-digit lead, 17-6. However, the Rebels battled back with a 10-0 run.

Hinson started things with back-to-back long three-pointers. An offensive putback by Carlos Curry followed by another Hinson jumper brought the Rebels within one, 17-16, with 12 minutes left in the first half.

Ole Miss continued to maintain momentum, growing the run to 16-2 to take its first lead of the game.

A fadeaway baseline jumper by Hinson gave him 12 on the night, putting the Rebels in front. Ole Miss held Florida scoreless for three minutes, and a KJ Buffen drive to the basket made it a three-point game, 22-19.

The Gators caught fire, sinking nine buckets in a row and holding a 12-point advantage at the half. While Ole Miss shot 52.4 percent (11 of 21) in the opening 20 minutes, Florida boasted a better shooting clip at 62.1 percent (18 of 29) thanks to 30 points in the paint.

While the Ole Miss defense limited the Gators to nine made field goals in the second half, the deficit proved to be too large as Florida increased its lead throughout the remainder of the game.

Buffen scored 14 of the Rebels’ 27 second half points, knocking down 10 of 11 from the charity stripe.

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