Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators beat Mississippi in SEC basketball opener

Billy Donovan, giving directions to Alex Tyus, says the Gators must do more than just talk about improving their rebounding.

Associated Press

Billy Donovan, giving directions to Alex Tyus, says the Gators must do more than just talk about improving their rebounding.

GAINESVILLE — The good news for Florida is the Gators opened SEC play with a win. The bad news was that their performance exposed serious weaknesses and left coach Billy Donovan in a less than complimentary mood.

Led by three players scoring in double figures, including 19 points from sophomore guard Nick Calathes, Florida defeated Mississippi 78-68 in front of 11,753 at the O'Connell Center on Saturday night, including a cameo first-half appearance by UF quarterback Tim Tebow and coach Urban Meyer.

The Gators (14-2 overall) led 53-39 at halftime, going on a 12-0 run and shooting 62.1 percent (53.3 percent on 3-pointers). But Donovan had concerns that became reality in the second half.

The Rebels outrebounded Florida 46-22, 18-4 offensively. It was the most rebounds the Gators have given up all season, and its 22 is their season low.

"What really got exposed is the thing that I've always been worried about with our team, is, will be physically compete up front and create a level of confrontation in the paint," Donovan said. "I don't know the last time, since I've been here, we've been outrebounded by 24 rebounds."

The rebounding struggles — and a shooting drought midway through the second half — allowed Ole Miss (9-6, 0-1 SEC) to get back into the game. Trailing 59-43, Mississippi went on a 15-5 run. The Gators went without a field goal for 8½ minutes during that span.

"We didn't hit as many shots," sophomore Chandler Parsons said. "We have to come out with the same passion and fire. We had a big lead in the second half, and any team in the SEC on any night can cut it down and make it a game, just like they did. I think we can grow from this and get better."

Donovan isn't so sure.

"I think it's a mentality that you have," he said. "I don't know if you can instill that type of mentality. … Those guys can talk all they want about, 'We know, we didn't rebound,' but you know what, there also comes a time where you have to physically compete and do it."

The game marked the return of former Gator David Huertas, who was a freshman guard on the 2006 national championship team but transferred after that season. Huertas scored 16, shooting 4-of-15 from the field.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.



Florida 78

Ole Miss 68

Florida Gators beat Mississippi in SEC basketball opener 01/10/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 10, 2009 11:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    fit test: Top draft pick Cal Foote puts on his Lightning jersey.
  5. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Derek Norris, right, celebrates with Logan Morrison as he scores in what could be his last game with the Rays.