No. 14 Florida extends home streak
Gators hit 11 3-pointers en route to downing No. 18 Miss. State
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Bradley Beal scored 19 points, Patric Young made several crowd-rousing plays and No. 14 Florida beat No. 18 Mississippi State 69-57 Saturday, extending its home winning streak to 17 games.
The Gators (17-4, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) used an 11-0 run in the second half -- sparked by Beal’s third 3-pointer and highlighted by Young’s two dunks -- to turn a tight game into a double-digit affair.
Mississippi State (17-5, 4-3) trailed 62-47 after the spurt and never got cut the deficit to single digits. The Gators made enough plays down the stretch to secure their second win in six games against the Bulldogs.
Young, still battling tendinitis in his right ankle, finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Erik Murphy added 14 points thanks mostly to 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. Erving Walker chipped in 10, including a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining.
Florida’s leading scorer, Kenny Boynton, struggled from the field against Dee Bost and had two points. Boynton was 1-for-6 shooting, including 0 for 3 from 3-point range.
Arnett Moultrie led Mississippi State with 12 points and 13 rebounds, notching his league-leading 13th double-double of the season. Bost also scored 12 points. Moultrie fouled out with 2:04 remaining.
Florida used pressing, trapping defense to force the Bulldogs into 14 turnovers. But the biggest difference came at the 3-point line.
The Gators, who lead the nation in 3s, hit 11 of 24 from behind the arc.
Mississippi State was 7 of 16 from 3-point land, including two from Jalen Steele in the second half that helped the Bulldogs keep it close.
But they had no answer for Florida’s shooters.
Beal was 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Murphy proved to be even more dangerous, hitting several with Moultrie right in his face.
Young was just as problematic.
The 6-foot-9 center came off the bench and provided all kinds of energy for Florida. He took two charges, played tight defense on Moultrie and was even more emphatic in the paint.
Young had three dunks and a putback in the final 12 minutes that helped turn the game, playing with the kind of enthusiasm that coach Billy Donovan has been wanting from him for weeks. Young grabbed a rebound off Walker’s missed 3 and slammed it home. A few minutes later, he corralled Boynton’s miss and dropped it through the net.