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Noah, Florida return to No. 1, top Mississippi

Jan 21, 2007 - 1:35 AM GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Joakim Noah refused to allow Mississippi to cause the top team in the nation to sweat.

Noah scored 14 of his season-high 24 points in the second half as top-ranked Florida held off a second-half run by the Rebels to capture a 79-70 Southeastern Conference victory.

Taurean Green had 14 points and Lee Humphrey 13 for the Gators (17-2, 4-0 SEC East), who posted their 10th straight win.

Playing for the first time since regaining its top ranking, Florida jumped all over Mississippi at the start, taking an 11-point advantage with just 10 minutes expired and leading, 45-26, at the half.

Despite losing four of their previous five games, the Rebels (12-7, 1-3 West) sliced into that deficit after intermission, closing within 64-57 with 8:20 remaining on the strength of a 16-2 burst.

After fellow junior Al Horford came back with a layup, Noah blocked a shot in the paint by Greg Hardy and completed a three-point play on the other end to make it 69-57 with 6:54 to go.

Clarence Sanders, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, hit a jumper with 4:34 remaining and Todd Abernathy and Dwayne Curtis both added a layup to cut Mississippi's deficit to 73-66 with about 2 1/2 minutes remaining.

But Noah had a dunk off a missed shot by Green and Horford added a slam in the closing moments as the Gators collected their fifth straight win and eighth in the last 10 meetings with the Rebels.

Noah, the SEC's preseason player of the year, finished 9-of-10 from the field with 12 rebounds and three rejections.

The 6-11 junior is averaging 14.8 points and 10 rebounds in his last six games.

Horford ended up with nine points and eight boards for Florida, which finished with just a 34-28 edge in rebounding despite the play of its top two big men. Only one other Gator - starting small forward Corey Brewer - pulled down more than a rebound.

Brewer, however, scored nine points and handed out five of 19 assists for Florida, which also had 18 turnovers. Mississippi turned those miscues into 19 points.

Abernathy scored 14 points, Bam Doyne 11 and Curtis 10 for the Rebels, who dug themselves a hole in the first half by shooting 35.7 percent (10-of-28).








  • NCAA BB
    FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
    --- --- -----
    OLE MISS 26 44 70
    FLORIDA (1) 45 34 79 FINAL

    HIGH SCORERS: OLE MISS - CLARENCE SANDERS 17
    FLORIDA - JOAKIM NOAH 24

    Jan 20 8:32 PM


  • NCAA BB
    FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
    --- --- -----
    OLE MISS 26 44 70
    FLORIDA (1) 45 34 79 FINAL

    Jan 20 2:58 PM


  • NCAA BB
    OLE MISS 26
    FLORIDA (1) 45 HALFTIME

    Jan 20 1:51 PM