Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ole Miss upsets No. 13 Gators for SEC title

NASHVILLE — Once again when adversity hit, Florida didn't respond well.

With a 38-26 halftime lead and an SEC tournament championship on the line, Florida imploded in the second half as Ole Miss rallied, then held on for a 66-63 victory in Sunday's SEC tournament championship in front of 12,138 at Bridgestone Arena.

Trailing by two, UF senior forward Erik Murphy missed a short jumper with eight seconds left.

"We were in a play and I got the ball off the blocks, a spot I like, and just tried to make a good move," Murphy said. "It just didn't fall."

After Ole Miss forward Murphy Holloway hit one of two free throws for a three-point lead, the Rebels smartly fouled Scottie Wilbekin, who missed both free throws. UF got the rebound but Kenny Boynton missed a hurried 3-pointer, sending Henderson and the Rebels into celebration.

Ole Miss' only previous SEC title was in 1981. It secured an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament for a team considered on the bubble by some experts heading into Sunday's game.

"It's been a long time since Ole Miss had been on this stage," coach Andy Kennedy said. "Our guys earned the right to be here, and I wanted us to seize it. I really think we played with a sense of urgency that is needed to win championships."

A sense of urgency that the Gators are sorely lacking.

Florida is 0-4 in games decided by five points or fewer.

"I agree, it's got to stop," Boynton said. "I think as a team, we know our season will be over now. So the problem has to be fixed because it's one-and-done. We definitely have got to fix the problem now. Every team is going to get their run, and if they do get their run, being able to fight back."

Florida shot 46.4 percent from the field and 7-of-14 from 3-point range in the first half. Ole Miss was 2-of-9 from 3-point range and Henderson, the Rebels' star guard, had just three points.

But in the second half, he took over, eventually scoring 21 points and earning MVP honors. Henderson hit six free throws on two fouls on Wilbekin that helped spur a 22-8 second-half run and the Rebels' first lead. Florida shot 29 percent in the second half and made 1 of 7 free throws in the final 4:56.

"Certainly I thought it was a tale of two halves for both teams," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I thought two things really, really hurt us in the game. In the second half, one we did not guard very well at all. When you give up 54 percent basically in the second half, that erases any kind of lead you have pretty quickly when you end up shooting 29 percent in the second half."

Antonya English can be reached at

>>fast facts


Type goes here

Ole Miss upsets No. 13 Gators for SEC title 03/17/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 12:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  3. Jones: What Bucs need in final preseason games, more or less


    That's it. Let's start the season. Start it right now.

    Tom Jones wants to see less of Jameis Winston playing hot potato with the football and throwing it up for anyone to catch. [Getty Images]
  4. Barts Mr Peabody the likely favorite in Derby Lane's T.L. Weaver finale


    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick and Rhonda Bartley have a date Saturday night. It may turn into a date with destiny.

  5. Rays series preview: Who are the Mariners?


    The Rays are back home again, duking it out with another club in the American League Wild Card chase — the Mariners, who have a slight advantage over Tampa Bay. Here's the information you need to know about Seattle before the action kicks off.

    Record: 61-61, third in AL West

    Starter Erasmo Ramirez will face the Rays after they traded him to the Mariners in July.