Florida returns home after suffering its first SEC loss of the season, falling to sharp-shooting Missouri 91-75 on the road. That was the Tigers' first conference victory of the season and now the Gators face another opponent seeking its first SEC win as they host skidding Ole Miss on Tuesday.
"There are absolutely zero moral victories," Rebels coach Kermit Davis told reporters after his team came up short against Arkansas 76-72 Saturday. "Did we improve? Yes. We played well in spots. But we all expected to win in that locker room." The loss was Ole Miss' third in a row but the Rebels did show marked improvement with their ability to put the ball in the hoop, hitting 40.7 percent of their shots from the floor after shooting 30 percent in their 57-47 SEC-opening loss to Texas A&M and 30.8 percent in a 74-54 loss to Wichita State that began their skid. The Gators know all about poor shooting after connecting on just 8 of their 26 shots (30.8 percent) in the first half against Missouri but more concerning was the defense's inability to contain the hot Tigers shooters, who nailed 61.5 percent of their shots from the field and 63.2 percent from 3-point range for the game after hitting a whopping 8-of-11 from deep before the break (72.7 percent). "They kept hitting 3s," Florida coach Mike White told reporters. "We couldn't find a way to slow them down. My goodness - 62 percent (floor), 63 percent (treys], 18 assists, 11 turnovers. I can't remember the last time that happened to us at Florida. They dominated us."
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN2
ABOUT OLE MISS (9-6, 0-2 SEC): Senior guard Breein Tyree scored 27 points in the loss to Arkansas and is pacing the SEC in scoring during league games, averaging 26.5 points in the two contests, the first Rebel to score at least 25 in each of the first two SEC games since Joe Harvell (1992). KJ Buffen (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Devontae Shuler (10 points, 11 rebounds) recorded the first double-doubles of their careers against Arkansas and Shuler has now scored in double digits in seven straight games, the longest streak by a Rebel this season. Ole Miss outrebounded Arkansas 40-28, the third time this season that the Rebels held a plus-12 advantage on the boards.
ABOUT FLORIDA (10-5, 2-1): After scoring over 20 points in back-to-back games to help lead the Gators to wins in their first two SEC games, point guard Andrew Nembhard struggled against Missouri, scoring just eight points on 2-of-6 shooting and notching only four assists. Forward Keyontae Johnson also came up short with five points to end his string of double-figure scoring at three games, but forward Kerry Blackshear, who leads the Gators with 15.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, scored 22 for his fourth 20-point game in his last five. Sophomore Noah Locke drilled his first four 3-pointers in the loss and has now recorded multiple 3-point shots in a school-record 12 straight games to tie Brett Nelson (1999-2003).
1. Florida owns a 66-46 lead in this series after winning the last meeting 90-86 in overtime but the Rebels have won three of the last seven.
2. The Gators and Rebels will play a home-and-home series for the first time since the 2015-16 season as the teams also meet in Oxford on Feb. 8.
3. White needs one victory to reach 100 at Florida.
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