Florida defeats Mississippi StateJan 29, 2012 - 12:25 AM Florida ran away with the game in the second half to take a 69-57 decision over No. 18 Mississippi State on Saturday.
Patric Young added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench for the Gators (17-4, 5-1 SEC), who improved to 11-0 at home this season and have taken 17 straight games at the O'Connell Center.
"I thought all of us, collectively, did a lot of different things to affect the outcome of the game," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "We're just trying to get our guys to understand that every game presents a new set of challenges for us and you've got to kind of take what the defense gives you."
Arnett Moultrie and Dee Bost scored 12 points apiece for Mississippi State (17-5, 4-3), which had a two-game win streak snapped. Moultrie also had a game-high 13 rebounds.
Florida held a 30-27 lead at the break after a hard-fought first half which saw three ties and five lead changes.
With the score tied at 20 with a little over six minutes left in the first half, Florida reeled off seven straight points to take the half's largest lead by either team.
Mississippi State, though, closed with a 7-3 spurt to get within three.
The Bulldogs' run continued in the second half as they opened the frame by scoring five of the first seven points to knot the game at 32.
Beal stopped the swing with a three-pointer and after Moultrie made 1-of-2 free throws at the other end, Erving Walker dropped in another trey to put Florida ahead for good, 38-33.
Rodney Hood responded with a shot from beyond the arc to get Mississippi State back within two, but the Bulldogs would not make another shot from the field over the next five minutes as the Gators built a 47-39 advantage near the midpoint of the second half.
Mississippi State cut the lead to four on a Jalen Steele three two minutes later, but Florida scored the next 11 points and led by double digits for the remainder of the game.
"We felt good at the half," Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury said. "We were down three and had missed some shots. We kept battling in the second half. However, we get it to three and have three or four empty possessions in a row. You can't have empty possessions and expect to win on the road."
Florida holds a 58-49 lead in the all-time series...The Bulldogs held a 34-26 advantage on the glass...Since the 1998-99 season Florida is 282-37 when holding its opponent to 70 points or less, including a 12-1 mark this season...Walker had 10 points for Florida, while Hood finished with seven points for Mississippi State.
- MISSISSIPPI STATE: 57
Jan 28 3:33 PM
- MISSISSIPPI STATE: 27
Jan 28 2:29 PM
- MISSISSIPPI STATE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Jan 28 1:48 PM
- Virginia Tech guard Jalen Hudson transfers to Florida May 16
- Florida guard Francis-Ramirez transferring after 2 seasons May 4
- Florida's Devin Robinson out 4-6 months after foot surgery Apr 21
- Florida guard Walker plans to transfer after graduation Mar 28
- Mississippi St G Newman opts for NBA draft, won't hire agent Mar 22
- Florida's Egbunu to have season-ending thumb surgery Mar 15
- Florida's Egbunu uncertain to play against UNF in NIT Mar 14
- Florida C Egbunu tears thumb ligament before SEC Tournament Mar 9
- Florida trying to rebuild NCAA resume at SEC Tournament Mar 7
- February freefall leaves Florida in need of Kentucky win Feb 29
- Weatherspoon leading Mississippi State's resurgence Feb 23
- With road stretch looming, Florida needs to win at home Feb 8