Mississippi beats Florida 72-71
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Faced with a chance to lead Mississippi to a thrilling last-minute victory, Jarvis Summers didn’t just come through once – but twice.
The Rebels’ guard hit an 18-foot jumper and two free throws in the final 30 seconds to push Mississippi past Florida 72-71 on Saturday night. The 6-foot-2 senior has scored nearly 1,500 points during an accomplished career, but few were as important as those four.
”He’s an all-league player,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. ”He’s been here before. We need him to carry us in these situations.”
Ole Miss (12-7, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) trailed for much of the night, but rallied from a 69-65 deficit with a little more than two minutes remaining. It was Summers who was the difference during the tense, back-and-forth final possessions, draining a jumper just inside the 3-point line to push Ole Miss ahead 70-69 with 27.9 seconds remaining.
Florida retook the lead when Michael Frazier made two free throws with 9.8 seconds remaining, but Summers wasn’t finished, driving to the basket on the next possession before being fouled.
He hit both his free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining to give Ole Miss the 72-71 lead. Florida’s Kasey Hill failed to get a contested layup off as time expired.
Florida (10-9, 3-3) lost despite shooting a blistering 12 of 20 (60 percent) from 3-point range. Frazier scored a season-high 27 points and made 6 of 8 attempts from 3-point range.
The Gators have lost three straight. Dorian Finney-Smith added 15 points.
”This was a microcosm of how little room for error there is,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. ”If you look at the stat sheet, in just about every area, we won the battle. Free throw battle. 3-point battle. … But that just goes to show you how hard it will be for us unless we can really become a very disciplined, connected team.”
Ole Miss had four players score in double digits. LaDarius White added 13 points while Terence Smith had 11. Dwight Coleby added 10 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
It was a game that both teams badly needed to win after recent poor play. Ole Miss had lost two of three, including Wednesday’s setback to Georgia, while Florida had dropped two straight and was coming off its worst home loss since 2010.
Florida’s outside shooting carried it to a 36-30 halftime lead. The Gators made 7 of 10 from 3-point range in the first half, including a 4-of-4 performance by Finney-Smith.
Once the Gators finally cooled off in the second half, the Rebels were able to make a move. Smith made a 3-pointer with 12:40 remaining to push Ole Miss ahead 47-46.
That was followed by quick 3-pointers by Anthony Perez and Smith and the Rebels had a 53-46 lead. But the Gators didn’t go away quietly, losing only after Hill’s final drive resulted in no points.
Ole Miss won despite an off night for Stefan Moody, the team’s leading scorer this season. He made just 2 of 10 shots from the field and finished with six points.
Summers starred instead. He shot 5 of 11 from the field and had a game-high eight assists.
”We needed this,” Summers said. ”We just need to get back on track. We’ll win one and then lose one and we’ve got to be consistent. It’s got to start with me.”
Florida: The Gators made nine of their first 12 3-point attempts, routinely getting open looks. The Gators came into the game shooting just 33.2 percent from long range, which ranked 10th in the SEC.
Ole Miss: The 6-foot-9 Anthony Perez gave the Rebels an unlikely lift on Saturday, scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds. He was an important part of the playing rotation last season, but has fallen out of favor recently, and had made only 1 of 10 3-pointers this season before making one during the second half.
Ole Miss hosts Mississippi State on Wednesday.
Florida travels to Alabama on Tuesday.
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