Miss State stuns Gators at the O Dome
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) – Lawrence Roberts scored a game-high 21
points and ripped down 14 rebounds to lead 19th-ranked Mississippi State to a
79-68 victory over No. 17 Florida at the O’Connell Center.
“He’s a great, great player,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “As good as
there is in this league, as good as there is in the country.”
Winsome Frazier posted 17 points for the Bulldogs (15-1, 4-1 Southeastern
Conference), who have won two straight since their only loss of the season
last week to Kentucky. Shane Power and Timmy Bowers netted 15 and 13 points,
respectively, as Mississippi State won in Gainesville for the first time since
the 1995-96 campaign.
“We just go out there and play, and know we can compete with any team,”
Anthony Roberson notched 20 points in the loss for Florida (11-4, 2-2 SEC),
which dropped its second straight game versus a top-25 opponent. The Gators
lost at then-No. 23 Vanderbilt in Nashville last Saturday. Matt Walsh added 17
points for the Gators, who had a 13-game home winning streak against the SEC
West snapped. David Lee was Florida’s third double-digit scorer with 11
Roberts and Power combined to score eight points in the first four minutes of
the second half, as the Bulldogs opened a 60-40 lead and never looked back.
The Gators couldn’t respond to the early Bulldog surge, as three of Florida’s
first four second-half possessions ended with jumpers that rattled in and out
of the basket. The other possession was lost on an errant Roberson pass that
sailed out of bounds.
Mississippi State would lead by as many as 22 at 70-48 on a breakaway dunk by
Bowers with 6:43 remaining.
Florida would get it no closer than the final margin.
The Bulldogs shot an impressive 51.9 percent, while holding the Gators to just
38.7 percent from the field.
The teams swapped baskets and the lead eight times in the first 5 1/2 minutes
of the contest.
Marcus Campbell’s breakaway dunk with 12:24 left in the half kick-started a
quick 5-1 run by Mississippi State to break a 14-14 tie. The Bulldogs would
not trail the rest of the first 20 minutes.
Walsh converted a layup to cut the Gators’ deficit to 27-24, but Mississippi
State responded by outscoring Florida 11-4 over the next 3 1/2 minutes to open
a 40-28 edge with two minutes remaining.
Roberson knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer,
as Florida got within single digits at 44-35 heading to the intermission.