SEC: Summers Seals Win for Ole Miss Rebels Over Gators

OXFORD, Miss. - Behind a team-leading 16 points from senior guard Jarvis Summers, including two free throws with 3.5 seconds left, Ole Miss knocked off Florida 72-71 on Saturday night at Tad Smith Coliseum. 

The nation’s leader in free throw percentage, the Rebels (12-7, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) went 16-of-19 from the line, and none were bigger than Summers’ last two makes. 

“He’s an all-league player,” said head coach Andy Kennedy of Summers. “He’s been there before. We need him to carry us in those situations. We had a situation earlier in the year against Kentucky, and he settled a little bit. Tonight, he did a much job of attacking off the bounce, got it to his strong hand and stepped up and made two huge free throws.”

Three players scored in double figures off the bench, as the Ole Miss bench outscored the Florida bench 40-19. Senior guard LaDarius White led the way with 13 points. Senior guard Terence Smith finished with 11 points, knocking down three 3-pointers, and sophomore forward Dwight Coleby added 10 points and a team-leading six rebounds.

“We have quality depth,” Kennedy said. “I was playing a lot of guys early, but it’s hard to get in any kind of rhythm when you’re playing 10 or 11 guys, so we have shortened it to nine guys. Today, we had to go a little bit deeper, and those guys responded, which is not easy to do.”

It was a game of runs in the first half, as Florida (10-9, 3-3 SEC) opened the game on an 8-0 run and led by as many as 11, before Ole Miss took its first lead of the game, 21-20, with 7:53 left in the half after a 12-0 run of its own. 

Florida answered with an 11-0 run to regain a 31-21 lead, and the Rebels answered back with a 7-0 run, all from White, to get within three, 31-28, with 3:55 left. Florida held Ole Miss scoreless for a 3:48 stretch late in the half and went into halftime leading 36-30.

Ole Miss erased the halftime deficit, taking a 53-46 lead with 11:31 left, after a 13-0 run midway through the second half, a run that included two 3-pointers by Smith and another 3-pointer by junior forward Anthony Perez. 

“Terence Smith stepped up and made some huge shots for us when we made that run in the second half to really give us some life,” Kennedy said. “Florida was up six at the half, and it could have been more. For the first time, in the second half, when Terence knocked down that big three, it energized and it gave him some pop.”

The Rebels led or were tied the rest of the way until Michael Frazier, who finished with a game-high 27 points, knocked down his sixth 3-pointer of the game with 3:29 left to give the the Gators a 67-65 lead. 

Ole Miss regained the lead, 70-69, after a deep, step-back jumper by Summers with 26.6 seconds left, before Florida went back ahead, 71-70, after a pair of free throws from Frazier with 9.8 seconds left.

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