By Adam Brown
Ole Miss returns to action on Saturday as they play host to the Florida Gators inside the Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. on ESPN 2.
Ole Miss (11-11, 2-7 SEC) is coming off of an 84-70 victory over South Carolina Wednesday night. In the game, senior Breein Tyree set a new career-high record of 38 points.
Devontae Shuler has found his rhythm over the past three games as he is averaging over 20 points per night.
Having missed time during the offseason, sophomore Blake Hinson told the media on Friday that it wasn’t bad also trying to get into a rhythm.
“I have missed days,” Hinson said. “I have missed others that other guys have had, but just getting my shots up after practice. Things like that to keep fresh and ready to play.”
Against South Carolina, Hinson was able to drive the ball a little more.
“I’m able to get into my rhythm and find my pace,” Hinson said. “I just have to string some games together playing at my pace and rhythm.”
Coach Kermit Davis will be honored with a game ball to recognize 500 career victories this Saturday.
Florida (14-8, 6-3 SEC) rolls into town after an 81-75 victory over Georgia (Feb. 5), rallying from 22 points down in the second half. It was the second time this season that they came back from at least a 20-point deficit.
“We had a good preparation Thursday for Florida,” Davis said. “Florida is obviously a really good team. That had a really good come back to win (Georgia) as they got down by 20 in the second half. They played great offensively and guarded well in the second half.”
Florida has taken care of the basketball, only surrendering 11.7 turnovers per game for the fewest in the SEC. Grad transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. leads the Gators with 13.9 ppg and 8.2 rpg. He has found success at the charity stripe, ranking in the nation’s top 15 in makes (116) and attempts (149) for 77.9 percent. Keyontae Johnson adds 13.4 ppg, while Andrew Nembhard averages 11.7 ppg and paces the Gators in assists (5.8 per game).
“They look and play like an NCAA tournament team,” Davis said. “They are still a really young team and play a lot of freshmen. Very talented offensive and defensive group.”
Gators head coach Mike White, a former Ole Miss basketball player who played alongside current Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter, is in his fifth season at the helm.
Saturday’s matchup will be the 114th all-time meeting between the two programs. In January, Florida knocked off Ole Miss 71-57 in Gainesville. The Rebels were without senior Tyree with a back contusion and junior Khadim Sy who was suspended. The Gators hold a 67-46 advantage in the series.
“I look forward to it and hope we have a great crowd here tomorrow,” Davis said.
Prior to the game, fans can meet the 2020 Ole Miss baseball team and receive autographs. For people not able to make it into town, watch all the action on ESPN 2 or listen to the call on the Ole Miss Sports Network. Follow HottyToddySprts on Twitter for live updates.