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Ole Miss 68, Florida 51: Rebels romp past Gators in Oxford

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Florida breezed past an Ole Miss team without Breein Tyree. With him back, the Rebels repaid the favor.

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Mississippi Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators barely sweated at all in their win over Ole Miss in Gainesville.

Ole Miss did the same in a 68-51 rout of the Gators in Oxford on Saturday.

Breein Tyree — who missed the first game between the two teams — was excellent for the Rebels, scoring 23 points to lead all players and drilling four threes, but he would have barely had to be good on this day for Ole Miss to win, given how listless Florida looked at both ends of the floor.

Offensively, the Gators struggled to consistently run plays for the majority of the game, then missed the majority of their open shots anyway, making just 18 of 54 field goals and five of 23 threes. And their 15 turnovers helped fuel the Rebels, who were only decent inside the arc, but stroked seven of 16 threes.

And whatever steps Florida appeared to take forward — starting on a 5-1 run on smart plays from tipoff, and coming out of halftime on another 4-0 run — were brief, and brought responses from the Rebels. Ole Miss would lead 21-8 after that 5-1 start for Florida, and turned a 35-33 lead into a 48-36 advantage that basically ended the competitive portion of the game.

That’s how dismal Florida was, with virtually every player other than Keyontae Johnson (16 points, 10 rebounds) — who, himself, missed open threes and bricked an open lob — failing to score efficiently or defend effectively. And only Andrew Nembhard (five points on 2-for-9 shooting) got hurt during the game; Tre Mann (0-for-6, zero points), Kerry Blackshear (3-for-8, 0-for-3 from three, 11 points), and Noah Locke (2-for-6 from three, 3-for-9 overall) were just bad, not running on a turned ankle.

For Florida, this was arguably the worst loss of a year with some bad ones, and a game that could have been had being totally wrested away by a team that wanted it more — and took it.

If the Gators can’t summon the resolve they have in historic comebacks — or make shots at an even average rate, really — there won’t be much more taking done by them this year.