Men's Hoops Denies Florida a Piece of the SEC Lead

February 6, 1999

Box Score

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Keith Carter scored 20 points as Mississippi denied Florida a chance to tie for the lead in the SEC East, beating the Gators 79-68 Saturday night.

Carter's performance marked the fifth straight game in which the senior guard has reached the 20-point mark, giving Mississippi (17-7, 7-4 SEC) its third consecutive win and fifth in its last six.

A win would have pulled the Gators (16-5, 7-4) into a tie for first in the SEC East with No. 5 Kentucky, who they upset Thursday. But Florida appeared spent from that emotional win.

The Rebels, meanwhile, played like the seasoned group they are, answering every comeback effort the Gators threw at them.

And it wasn't all because of Carter.

Marcus Hicks showed how he became the SEC's leading shooter, matching Carter's 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting, including five rim-rattling dunks.

Two of those dunks came after Florida had trimmed a 15-point deficit to 52-46 with 11:17 left. Those, plus Hicks' easy layup off Jason Smith's alley-oop pass, put the Rebels back up by 12.

Florida pulled within eight a few minutes later, but Carter sank an open 17-foot jumper to push the lead back to double digits and essentially ice the game. Mississippi hit 15 of 19 free throws over the final three minutes.

Smith also had a solid game for Mississippi, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds.

Greg Stolt led the Gators with 18 points. Freshman Teddy Dupay had 14 and Udonis Haslem finished with 10.

Mississippi's small lineup - with no starter over 6-foot-6 - took control early by breaking through Florida's press, milking the shot clock and working the ball for good shots.

And when Jason Harrison and Carter each hit 3-pointers to expand a two-point lead to eight, Florida began losing its cool. Referee Doug Shows slapped Florida coach Billy Donovan with his first technical foul of the season.

Carter hit one of the two free throws and a 15-foot jumper on the next possession to give the Rebels a 35-24 lead, their biggest of the half.

Leading by eight at halftime, Smith and Hicks opened the second half with dunks that came on top of Carter's spinning layup for a 14-point lead.

By EDDIE PELLS
AP Sports Writer


 

 

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