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No. 24 Florida tops Ole Miss

No. 24 Florida tops Ole Miss
Published On: Tue, Jan 03
Jan 3, 2015; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; Louisiana Tech Bulldogs forward Michale Kyser (1) looks to pass while defended by several Southern Miss Golden Eagle players during the first half at Reed Green Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Canyon Barry's family lineage hints that he might be good at shooting a basketball.

The senior guard lived up to expectations on Tuesday when he matched his season high of 20 points to lead No. 24 Florida to a 70-63 victory over Mississippi in SEC play at Gainesville, Fla.

Barry, the youngest son of basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry, sparked Florida off the bench by connecting on 8 of 14 field-goal attempts. He made three 3-pointers, which also matched his season best, to help the Gators (11-3, 2-0) win their fourth consecutive contest.

"He's really good," Florida coach Mike White said of Barry. "He's coming off the bench but he's a starter. He would start for a lot of teams, for most teams in this league and throughout the country.

"He's been a wonderful teammate. He's a company guy, brings it every day. You know what you're going to get."

Though it marked the third time in four games that the 6-foot-6 Barry had scored 15 or more points, he had been mired in a shooting slump. Barry connected on just 21 of 66 field-goal attempts over the previous eight games.

Seeing the ball go through the net against Ole Miss (9-5, 0-2) brightened his outlook.

"I hadn't been playing that well offensively, but my teammates have had a lot of confidence in me," Barry said. "I've been getting a lot of shots up in the gym. They found me in good positions to score, and I was able to knock them down."

Barry is a graduate transfer from the College of Charleston. In addition to his famous father, half-brothers Brent (Oregon State), Jon and Drew (both for Georgia Tech) were solid college players who played in the NBA. Another half-brother, Scooter, played at Kansas and mother Lynn Norenberg Barry was a women's standout at William & Mary.

That means tough acts to follow in addition to high standards. And Barry was disappointed that the Gators let a 20-point second-half lead dwindle to six before sealing the victory.

"There's going to be a big emphasis moving forward on (putting games away)," Barry said. "We've had multiple games where we got a big lead and kind of let up. We took our foot off the gas pedal, instead of continuing to press and play our game for the full 40 minutes."

Barry wasn't the only Florida player making a solid contribution against the Rebels. Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen scored 14 points, junior forward Devin Robinson added 11 points, and senior point guard Kasey Hill recorded a career-best six steals along with eight points, five rebounds and five assists.

Allen knocked down four 3-pointers for the Gators and has made 14 over the past three games.

Junior guard Deandre Burnett scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half but couldn't prevent Ole Miss from losing its second straight contest. Senior forward Sebastian Saiz recorded 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Rebels, who committed 21 turnovers.

"There have been some things exposed because we've played good teams," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "My hope is we grow from that, learn and improve."

Hill recorded five steals in the first half to help the Gators take a 14-point lead. Florida pushed the lead to 40-21 early in the second half on Robinson's jumper.

A short time later, the Rebels used a 10-1 surge to pull within nine points with 14:18 remaining. The Gators quickly restored order with 11 consecutive points as senior forward Justin Leon scored five points, Barry added four and sophomore center John Egbunu delivered a ferocious dunk off a feed from junior guard Chris Chiozza to make it 53-33 with 11:03 remaining.

Ole Miss rolled off the next eight points and was later within 13 with less 6 1/2 minutes to play. Barry responded with a 3-pointer and a driving hoop to make it 65-47 with 3:52 remaining.

Egbunu's dunk gave Florida a 67-52 edge with 2:48 left but the Rebels made another charge with nine consecutive points. Burnett scored three baskets during the stretch as Ole Miss crept with 67-61 with 52 seconds left.

Allen hit two free throws to make it a three-possession game with 36.8 seconds to play and the Rebels never again were closer than six points in what Kennedy termed a disappointing performance.

"Turnovers have been a nuisance for us really since our exhibition game," Kennedy said. "At times, I feel like we're getting over it, and then tonight it rears its ugly head. ... That's just a recipe for disaster, something we've got to improve upon."

Allen and Barry each scored nine first-half points as Florida led 35-21 at the break.

Ole Miss committed 14 turnovers and didn't make a field goal over the final 5:45 of the half.

Saiz's basket pulled the Rebels within 24-20 before the Gators rattled off the next 11 points. Allen began the spurt with a 3-pointer, Hill converted back-to-back layups and Robinson hit two free throws and buried a jumper to make it a 15-point margin.

Florida started strong by scoring the first eight points. The Rebels responded with eight of their own and took their lone lead of the half at 10-9 on a layup by junior forward Justas Furmanvicius.

NOTES: Ole Miss senior F Sebastian Saiz now has five consecutive double-doubles. ... Florida sophomore SG KeVaughn Allen made five 3-pointers in each of the previous two games. ... The Rebels allowed 60 first-half points to Kentucky in their previous contest. ... The Gators own a 38-12 home mark against Ole Miss.

Read the complete news article here...

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Name Pos
DeVon Walker G
John Egbunu C
Dorian Finney-Smith F
Alex Murphy F
Devin Robinson F
Chris Chiozza G
Schuyler Rimmer F
Justin Leon F
Kasey Hill G
Lexx Edwards G
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