Florida blew a seven point lead with four minutes left, but made their free throws to defeat Ole Miss 64-61. The Gators are now 19-8, 8-4 in the SEC and 5-3 in road games.
The Gators came out strong to start the second half, powered by Vernon Macklin (22pts, 7reb) and Chandler Parsons (13pts, 8reb). But Ole Miss (17-9, 5-7) rallied, using a quick 7-0 run to take a 56-54 lead with 2:31 left. Parsons' free throws tied it, and a steal by Alex Tyus led to a Kenny Boynton breakaway dunk to put Florida out in front. Erving Walker was 6-6 at the line to ice it. Tyus had 9pts, 4reb and was 5-6 at the line. Boynton continued his awful shooting, with 6pts on 2-12 shooting. Walker finished with 10 points on 2-10 shooting and kept Ole Miss in the game with five turnovers. The difference was Florida shooting 25-27 at the line, which made up for 36% shooting from the field and 1-13 from 3-point range. UF was out rebounded, 34-28.
Macklin and Parsons did the heavy lifting today as Macklin found space inside and Parsons was active on both ends. As if we didn't need any more proof that Parsons is the best player on the team, an NBA scout told the Gainesville Sun's Kevin Brockway that today was the most confident he has seen Parsons play. Macklin's biggest problem is free throw shooting, which is why he was off the floor for the final minute. But Macklin was 6-6 from the line today.
Florida finished 6-0 against the SEC West. Florida plays Tennessee on Tuesday in Gainesville.