Despite a valiant effort from senior Terence Davis, Ole Miss continued its losing skid in heartbreaking fashion, falling 90-86 in an overtime affair on the road at Florida. The Rebels have now dropped four of their last five games after a remarkable 13-2 (3-0) start, and they now find themselves in the middle of the SEC standings at 14-6 (4-4).
Through a back-and-forth first half with a slow pace that favored Florida’s highly touted defense, it was the Gators who took a 33-30 lead to the locker room. Terence Davis was the offensive catalyst for the Rebels in the first 20 minutes, scoring 14 points while going 8-for-10 from the free throw line.
Despite the halftime deficit, Ole Miss would not go away easily. After a 13-3 run that featured five points each from Breein Tyree and KJ Buffen, as well as a Terence Davis 3-pointer, the Rebels took a 55-50 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Fast forward to just a minute left in regulation: Freshman KJ Buffen knocked down two clutch free throws to give the Rebels a 74-71 advantage. Florida cut it to a 1-point lead after a circus shot from Andrew Nembhard, and Ole Miss responded with two Breein Tyree free throws with just eight seconds remaining.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, the Gators’ senior leader, KeVaughn Allen, sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of 6-foot-7 KJ Buffen with two seconds left in regulation.
During overtime, Florida controlled the five-minute period. Behind threes from both Noah Locke and Andrew Nembhard, Florida did the little things in overtime to secure its fourth SEC win this season. The Gators connected on all four of their free throws in overtime and sealed the game when KeVaughn Allen made a diving save to preserve an offensive rebound with 30 seconds remaining.
Four Gators finished in double figures, led by Noah Locke who scored 21 points. KeVaughn Allen chipped in with 20 points of his own, none more important than the three that sent the game to overtime
Aside from dropping their third-straight game, there were bright spots for Ole Miss. Terence Davis led the Rebels in scoring, finishing with 26 points, five assists and 12 rebounds, all team-highs, to secure his third double-double of the season.
Breein Tyree chipped in with 20 points and four rebounds. Freshman KJ Buffen displayed his development, scoring a career-high 17 points in a hostile environment on the road.
Production from the center position continues to be an area of concern for Ole Miss. The tandem of Dominik Olejniczak and Bruce Stevens combined for just 12 points and three rebounds while totaling 45 minutes against a Florida team that ranks last in the SEC in rebounding.
The Rebels’ next game will be back in The Pavilion, where the team boasts a 9-2 record on the season, but won’t have time to dwell on the loss, with in-state rival and No. 22 Mississippi State 15-5 (3-4) making a short northern voyage to Oxford on Saturday. In the last meeting between the teams, Ole Miss snuck out of Starkville with an 81-77 win.