Gators down Rebels for season sweep

Dorian Finney-Smith had 16 points and six boards to help UF past Ole Miss, 77-72.

Dorian Finney-Smith had 16 points and six boards to help UF past Ole Miss, 77-72.

Published on Wednesday, 2/10/16, at 7:35 a.m. Eastern.

Finally back at full strength and winners of three of its last four games, Ole Miss invaded the O-Dome on Tuesday night in search of a revenge victory at Florida. The Gators, now coached by Mike White, the former Rebels’ assistant coach and four-year starter at point guard in the 1990s, had taken his team into Oxford to collect an 80-71 win over his alma mater last month in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

This time around, it was a tight game for 40 minutes. UF held on to capture a 77-72 win, but Ole Miss took the cash as a nine-point underdog.

That was a good thing for my college basketball picks. I was on a 10-4 run going into Tuesday, but Georgia and Xavier let me down in blowout losses so the Rebels saved me from a bloody night at the office.

Florida improved to 16-8 overall, 7-4 in SEC play. Meanwhile, Ole Miss fell to 15-9 overall, 5-6 in conference action.

Devin Robinson put the game on ice with a dunk with 4.8 seconds remaining after the Rebels had pulled to within three. Robinson, a sophomore who was a five-star signee by Billy Donovan in his final recruiting class, had 15 points after failing to score in double figures in five straight games and eight of UF’s last nine.

Dorian Finney-Smith scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed six rebounds. Kevaughn Allen, the true freshman out of Arkansas who dropped a career-best 27 points on the Rebels in Oxford, finished with 15 points. John Egbunu had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while junior reserve point guard Kasey Hill produced 10 points, three rebounds, three steals and six assists compared to only one turnover.

Stefan Moody, the Rebs’ star guard who hit a pair of game-winning jumpers to beat UF last season, fouled out after scoring a game-high 19 points.

UF will be looking for its 12th consecutive victory over Alabama when it hosts the Tide at 5:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.

In other action Tuesday, Purdue beat Michigan St. 82-81 at home in overtime. The Spartans covered the number as 2.5-point road underdogs.

UNC rallied from a big deficit at Boston College to avoid the Eagles’ upset bid. However, head coach Roy Williams fainted yet again. The image of him being helped off the court was a scary one. Williams has dealt with fainting spells before in the past, including other episodes where he’s lost his balance while addressing his team in the huddle. UNC sent out a press release that Williams was fine.

My Monmouth squad continued to impress, rolling to an easy blowout win at Marist. The Hawks have won six in a row and 11 of its last 12. They have covered in five straight and are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 outings.

Like I’ve been saying for months, Monmouth will make the Round of 32 and don’t be surprised in the least if it crashes the Sweet 16. Another Cinderella to keep an eye on — a Chattanooga squad coached by former Billy Donovan assistant Matt McCall.

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