OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Breein Tyree scored 23 points and sparked Mississippi to what proved to be an insurmountable early lead Saturday as the Rebels defeated Florida 68-51.
Devontae Shuler and KJ Buffen scored 14 points apiece as Ole Miss (12-11, 3-7 Southeastern Conference) won consecutive league games for the first time and snapped a two-game winning streak by the Gators. Buffen had a team-high nine rebounds, while Shuler added a game-high five assists.
Florida (14-9, 6-4 SEC) was led by Keyontae Johnson and Kerry Blackshear Jr. with 16 and 11 points, respectively. The Gators trailed 21-8 after nine minutes, 33-27 at halftime and did not cut the margin to single digits in the final 10 minutes.
Ole Miss shot 26 of 55 (47.3%), 7 of 16 (43.8%) from 3-point range, including four by Tyree. Florida struggled offensively with 15 turnovers and shot 18 of 54 (33.3%) from the field and 5 of 23 (21%) from beyond the arc. The Rebels outscored Florida 16-7 off the turnovers.
Florida: The Gators have won twice in SEC play by wiping out deficits of 20 points or more, but could not erase the 13-point deficit established in the opening nine minutes. It was an unhappy homecoming for Coach Mike White, a former Ole Miss captain and four-year starter at point guard, who led the Rebels to a pair of SEC West Division titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Ole Miss: After a frustrating January of near misses, the Rebels won consecutive SEC games after losing eight of the previous nine games. Tyree is arguably the league's best offensive performer, but lately he has gotten help from an improved defense and scoring help from Shuler and Buffen, especially during a decisive 13-3 run that built a 48-36 lead with 12:19 left.
Florida: Visits Texas A&M on Wednesday.
Ole Miss: Hosts Mississippi State on Tuesday to complete a three-game home stand.
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