EditorsNote: adds “on Wednesday” in second graf
When Florida needed him most, senior guard KeVaughn Allen stepped up to help the Gators secure another important win for their NCAA Tournament hopes.
Allen sank a tying 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to send the game into overtime, then scored four points and dove on the floor to save a possession in the extra session, lifting the Gators to a 90-86 win over Ole Miss on Wednesday at Gainesville, Fla.
Allen scored 21 points for the Gators (12-8, 4-3 SEC) while freshman guard Noah Locke scored a team-high 22 points. Locke made a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left in overtime to help seal the win.
Senior guard Terence Davis led Ole Miss (14-6, 4-3) with 26 points, and junior guard Breein Tyree added 20 points. Tyree put Ole Miss up 76-73 with 8.8 seconds left with a pair of free throws, before Allen came down the floor to tie it with his first 3-pointer of the game. Allen finished the game 6-of-19 from the floor but was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
Freshman forward Keyontae Johnson had a career-high 15 points for Florida before fouling out in overtime, and freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard had 12 points and six assists, allowing the Gators to bounce back from a 55-50 loss at TCU.
Ole Miss lost its third straight and fourth in its last five games despite shooting 46 percent from the floor. The Rebels were unable to overcome 17 turnovers.
Both teams played a tight first half that included three ties and four lead changes. The Gators shot 43.3 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from the field in the first half, while Ole Miss shot 37 percent and just 11.1 percent (1-9) from beyond the arc.
Ole Miss took its biggest lead of the half, 23-19, on a three-point play by sophomore guard Devontae Shuler with 5:35 left in the first half. But the Gators closed the half strong, outscoring Ole Miss 14-7 over the final five minutes.
Florida regained its lead, 29-28, on a driving layup by Allen with 1:41 remaining. After two Allen free throws put Florida back up 31-30, senior guard Jalen Hudson made another drive in the lane with 40 seconds left in the half, putting the Gators up 33-30 at intermission.
—Field Level Media