FINAL: Florida 61, Mississippi State 59

WHAT HAPPENED: Sophomore guard (*59*) Richard scored 12 factors, burying 4 of 5 3-point makes an attempt, fifth-year ahead Colin Castleton added 13 factors and Florida bought out of Humphrey Coliseum with a Southeastern Conference highway win Saturday night time, a 61-59 victory that examined the Gators’ grit within the second half, particularly on the sport’s closing possession. The Bulldogs fell behind by 16 within the first half however used a 23-7 spree that bridged the 2 halves to make it a sport and tie the rating twice halfway by means of the second half (at 43 and 45). But a 7-0 run by the guests helped them work to a 10-point lead, 60-50, with 4 minutes to go. Back got here the house workforce, with a 9-1 blitz, once more to attract inside two, 61-59, with 1:28 to go. After three straight empty possessions (two by UF, one by MSU, the Bulldogs had an opportunity to win the sport with 13 seconds left, however the Gators defended a pair of photographs (or the Bulldogs missed them, relying in your view), the final a brief jumper within the paint by Cameron Matthews that spun the cylinder, popped away from the rim and was batted away by Castleton as time expired. Richard additionally had three rebounds and a few blocks. Castleton hit simply 5 of 14 photographs and grabbed 4 rebounds, however was a focus of the Bulldogs on protection. Sophomore guard Kowacie Reeves, battling by means of a horrible capturing hunch, scored 9 factors in 18 minutes off the bench. Florida shot practically 42 p.c for the sport and made 10 of 24 from deep towards a protection that began the day ranked ninth nationally in total effectivity. Guards Kyle Lofton and Myreon Jones, a pair of fifth-year seniors, mixed for 11 assists and no turnovers towards that aggressive, often-pressing and trapping protection. UF misplaced sophomore ahead Alex Fudge (7 factors, 3 rebounds) simply eight seconds into the second half when he was concerned in a tough collision making an attempt to attract a cost. He left the sport and didn’t return. Mississippi State, led by 12 factors every from ahead Tulo Smith (11 rebounds) and guard Deshawn Davis (three second-half 3s) completed at 39.3 p.c (4 of 17 from 3), because the Gators held a sixth workforce of their seven SEC contests to beneath 40 p.c.

UF sophomore guard (*59*) Richard (5)

WHAT IT MEANS: So 19 video games into the season, the Gators have their first Quadrant 1 victory towards six losses (it was seven earlier this week, however the Oklahoma defeat has fallen to the Q-2 class). They have additionally received three true highway video games, which is one shy of the quantity they received all final yr, and sit in a two-way tie with Kentucky for fifth place within the SEC standings. UF had misplaced three of the final 4 towards MSU and hadn’t had one in Starkville since 2017.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Freshman guard Riley Kugel signed with Mississippi State final yr, however the former Orlando Dr. Phillips standout switched after the teaching swap there and opted to remain in state, as a substitute. He loved his pseudo-reunion with the Bulldogs, no second greater than early within the second half when he threw in a circus 3-pointer with an MSU defender in his jersey — from about 35 toes. He hit one other 3 later within the interval to assist stave off the house workforce’s cost. Kugel completed with eight factors and 5 rebounds.

STAGGERING STATISTICS: The Gators, eventually, began the sport very nicely and led on the first media timeout for simply the second time of their seven SEC video games, the opposite being an 8-6 benefit towards Georgia.

UP NEXT: Florida (11-8, 4-3), after back-to-back league highway video games, might be house Wednesday night time towards South Carolina (8-11, 1-5). The Gamecocks have misplaced three straight and 4 of the final 5, with all these defeats at house, together with Saturday’s 81-66 setback towards Sixteenth-ranked Auburn. Two of the opposite house losses (Alabama and Texas A&M) had been by greater than 40 factors. USC’s lone win throughout that five-game span got here at Kentucky, which implies the Gamecocks, regardless of some ugly defeats, are greater than able to coming to Gainesville and stealing one.

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