Noah, No. 1 Gators survive late scare from Ole Miss
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) – Joakim Noah scored 24 points and grabbed 12
rebounds, leading top-ranked Florida to a 79-70 victory over Ole Miss at the
Taurean Green added 14 points and six assists for the Gators (17-2, 4-0 SEC),
who moved back to the top the polls this week. Lee Humphrey chipped in 13
points as Florida won its 10th straight game.
Clarence Sanders scored 17 points and Todd Abernethy had 14 for Ole Miss
(12-7, 1-4), which has lost two straight and five of its last six. The Rebels
trailed by as many as 25 early in the second half, but made Florida sweat it
The Gators led 53-28 just two minutes into the second half and were ahead
59-37 with just over 14 minutes to play after a layup by Green, but the Rebels
followed with a 20-5 burst.
Eniel Polynice scored all of his eight points for Ole Miss during the surge
and a basket by Sanders with 8:20 to play made it a 64-57 game.
Florida answered with the next five points, including an acrobatic three-point
play by Noah, to extend the lead back to 12.
The Rebels continued to hang around and Polynice had a three-pointer rim out
with 2 1/2 minutes left that would have pulled them within four, but an
emphatic putback slam by Noah followed to increase the Florida lead back to
nine and Ole Miss never recovered.
Noah made 9-of-10 field goals and all six of his free throws. The Gators shot
a sizzling 61 percent from the field and hit 17-of-25 from the line.
Florida never trailed and used a 6-0 run early in the first half to open a
10-4 edge. The Gators continued to expand their lead and a three-pointer by
Green made it a 28-14 game with just under nine minutes left in the half.
Another three-pointer by Humphrey gave Florida a 39-20 lead and the Gators
took 45-26 cushion into the break.
The Gators shot 59 percent in the opening 20 minutes and had 12 assists on
their 16 baskets. Ole Miss shot just 36 percent.
Sanders made 8-of-19 shots for Ole Miss, but was a dismal 1-of-8 from beyond
the arc…The Rebels finished just 6-of-22 from three-point range…Florida
hit 6-of-13 three-point tries…The Gators won despite 18 turnovers and
improved to 13-0 at home.