Wed, 25 May 2022

Streaking Florida looks to extend Mississippi's misery

Field Level Media
24 Jan 2022, 05:19 GMT+10

Florida looks for a fourth consecutive Southeastern Conference win on Monday night when it faces slumping Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.

The Gators (12-6, 3-3 SEC) and Rebels (9-9, 1-5) were originally scheduled to meet Dec. 29, but COVID concerns at Florida forced the postponement. They are slated to meet again on Feb. 5 in Gainesville, Fla.

The Gators' latest victory was a 61-42 home win Saturday against Vanderbilt. With leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker Colin Castleton out for his second straight game, Florida got a boost from his replacement -- 6-foot-11, 285-pound big man Jason Jitoboh.

The Nigerian native's trimmer self -- he shed 50 pounds in seven months -- logged a career-high 27 minutes and produced eight points and a career-best 10 rebounds.

"It felt good out there," said Jitoboh, who helped the Gators limit the Commodores to 14 second-half points. "It just shows the work I've been doing."

With Florida up 31-28 at the half, the Gators turned up the defensive intensity in the final 20 minutes: Vandy made only 3 of 22 shots from the field and missed all nine attempts from long distance after the break. Commodores star Scotty Pippen Jr. was held to six points on 1-of-10 shooting.

The Rebels, who have lost four straight games and six of their last seven, hung in for almost 30 minutes Saturday at rival Mississippi State before fading and falling 78-60.

"I thought the first half was played at a high level. We just played confidently offensively, the ball moved, we got downhill," Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. "The second half, the game was just points in the paint and points off turnovers.

"Our inability to take care of the ball gave them a lot of turnovers, and then we just couldn't guard them around the goal."

With top scorer Jarkel Joiner (back) out indefinitely, Matthew Murrell has stepped up and led the team with 14 points against the Bulldogs, his fifth time in double figures in his last six games.

Murrell is averaging 9.8 points per game and shooting 40 percent (30 of 75) from long range.

--Field Level Media

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