Florida Edges Ole Miss, 75-71

Jan. 8, 2000

Box Score

By RALPH D. RUSSO
Associated Press Writer

OXFORD, Miss. - Florida abandoned its trademark run-and-gun style and resorted to brute strength against Mississippi.

Center Udonis Haslem scored 21 points and Major Parker hit two 3-pointers late in the second half as the sixth-ranked Gators beat Ole Miss 75-71 on Saturday.

The Gators (12-2 overall, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) shook off a loss to Vanderbilt earlier in the week to defeat Ole Miss for the first time in three years.

Rahim Lockhart led the Rebels (12-3, 0-2) with 19 points.

"The one thing we really have been missing on the road in year's past is we weren't able to go inside," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "When you are on the road in the last few minutes you've got to inside. Udonis had a great game. He gave us tremendous offense up front."

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Lockhart and the 6-7, 260-pound Haslem dueled inside most of the game. Florida pounded the ball inside to Haslem, Brent Wright and Donnell Harvey.

The Rebels had pulled within two, when Parker hit his second 3-pointer of the game at 1:47 to put Florida up 74-69. Parker came into the game shooting just 2-for-18 on 3-pointers.

It appeared Ole Miss may beat the Gators again early in the second half. After trading baskets to start the half, the Gators took their first lead of the game at 15:28 when Harvey took a pass from Mike Miller, converted the layup and was fouled by Lockhart.

Harvey hit the free throw for a 47-46 Florida lead.

"They're not No. 6 just because people think they're No. 6," Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes said. "They're No. 6 because they are very talented."

Ole Miss hit eight 3s in the game and the score was tied at 51 with about eight minutes left.

Florida, however, went on a 12-3 run that ended with a 3-pointer by Parker with 7:36 left. Parker's jumper gave the Gators a nine-point lead, their largest of the game to that point.

 

 

"The biggest difference was the play of Major Parker. He gave us a boost off the bench," Donovan said. "He came in and hit clutch shots in the second half after not playing at all in the first half."

Darian Brown's third 3-pointer of the game with 6:28 left got the Rebels within six. Brown had a career-high 18 points.

A minute and a half later, Lockhart got free inside and cut the Florida lead to 66-63.

Moments after giving Florida a six-point lead with a jump hook, Haslem fouled out with 3:43 remaining. He was 8-for-13 from the floor.

"We just went hard against each other the whole game," Haslem said about his battle with Lockhart. "It was a physical game, and we were just trying to play physical the whole game. That's why I fouled out."

Ole Miss hit six 3-pointers in the first half - including three by Jason Harrison and two by Brown - and led by as many as nine. The Rebels had eight 3s in the game but could not stop Florida's inside game.

Brown, who scored 10 in the first half, hit a 3-pointer with 6:44 remaining to put the Rebels ahead 30-21. But Florida closed the half by outscoring the Rebels 11-5 and trailed 35-32 at half.

Florida's previous victory over Mississippi was in the first round of the 1996 SEC tournament.

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