The Florida Gators had their closest SEC contest of the season, defeating the Ole Miss Rebels and SEC leading scorer Marshall Henderson 78-64 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville.
The 14-point win may have been the Gators’ smallest margin of victory during their amazing SEC streak, but the game was never in doubt. The fourth-ranked Gators never trailed and led by more than 20 points on several occasions in the second half.
Forward Erik Murphy led the Gators with 19 points, shooting 5-of-6 from three-point range and collecting six rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.
Once again, the Gators (18-2, 8-0) got balanced scoring and solid defense from their starters with center Patric Young adding 13 points and 12 rebounds. Guards Mike Rosario (14 points), Scottie Wilbekin (13 points) and Kenny Boynton (nine points) rounded out the scoring for the starters.
It was the 10th straight victory for the No. 4 Gators, which are likely to move up to the No. 2 ranking when the newest polls are released.
Henderson of Ole Miss led all scorers with 25 points but couldn’t rally the Rebels (17-4, 6-2), which lost their second consecutive SEC game despite scoring more points against Florida than any other SEC opponent this season.
The Gators continued their domination of SEC opponents with their eighth straight conference win. Georgia and Ole Miss are the only SEC teams to come within 20 points of the Gators this season. The Gators haven’t lost since falling to Kansas State on the road on December 22, 2012.
While the SEC is having a down year, the Gators schedule still includes two games with Kentucky (which seems to be on the rise after a shaky start) and a road game against a ranked Missouri team, which the Gators defeated earlier this season 83-52 in Gainesville.