Late Rebel Rally Comes Up Short At No. 1 Florida

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Ole Miss trimmed a 25-point second-half deficit to seven, but the upset bid of the nation's top team would get no closer as Florida prevailed 79-70 Saturday at a packed O'Connell Center. 

Ole Miss used a full-court press and 50-percent shooting to power a 29-11 run that began with 18 minutes left in the game. After intermission, the Rebels had nine steals and scored 15 points off 12 Gator turnovers.

Clarence Sanders notched 15 of his team-high 17 points in the second stanza. Eniel Polynice dropped in all eight of his points during the late Rebel surge, but rimmed out on a 3-point attempt with 2:27 remaining that would have pulled Ole Miss within four points.

Joakim Noah had two momentum-changing baskets down the stretch and finished with a season-high 24 points. With the Gators leading 66-57, Noah blocked Greg Hardy's shot, ran to the other end of the floor, caught a full-court pass from Al Horford and converted a 3-point play - scoring on a circus shot and then making the free throw.

Florida (17-2, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) extended the lead to 13 points, 73-60, but the Rebels stormed back by creating several turnovers. Ole Miss (12-7, 1-4) used three straight buckets to make it a seven-point game for the second time.

But Noah rebounded Taurean Green's missed 3-point shot and slammed it home. Green made two free throws, and Horford had a dunk in the closing minutes to seal the victory.

Todd Abernethy posted 14 points and Bam Doyne scored 11. Dwayne Curtis added 10 points.

 


 

 

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