Florida is the lone SEC team without a road loss. Coach Billy Donovan's team would like to keep it that way as it looks ahead to a tough upcoming schedule in Gainesville.
The No. 24 Gators try to win six in a row on the road for the first time in eight seasons Saturday when they face Mississippi State - the last SEC West team to defeat Florida.
Already with their highest road victory total since their national championship season of 2005-06, the Gators (16-4, 5-1) are looking to improve to 6-0 on opponents' home courts following a 104-91 double-overtime victory at Georgia on Tuesday.
Guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton each posted season highs with 24 points, and senior center Vernon Macklin added a career-high 23 with nine rebounds as Florida won its third in a row.
"That's not how we planned it, but we showed resilience," senior forward Chandler Parsons said after scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 boards. "They get a lucky tip-in to get it to overtime, and then Erving hits a lucky (30-foot 3-pointer) to get it to the second overtime. We're a good-conditioned team, and I think that showed at the end."
The Gators, who last won six in a row on the road from Dec. 6, 2002-Jan. 28, 2003, are undefeated in nine games against the West since their last visit to Starkville, an 80-71 loss March 4, 2009. They return home following Saturday's contest for matchups with 19th-ranked Vanderbilt and No. 14 Kentucky.
Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury understands the challenge of navigating the SEC schedule.
"Florida's got a Tuesday game (the win over Georgia), so they'll have lots more preparation, but that's kind of where the schedule falls," he said Monday. "I guess everybody somewhere along the way has to deal with it, and we're just going to have to deal with two very good basketball teams back to back."
While Stansbury said he liked his team's competitiveness and fight, the Bulldogs (10-9, 2-3) dropped the first of those two home games Thursday, 81-74 to Vanderbilt. Mississippi State led by nine with less than 10 minutes remaining but made three field goals the rest of the way en route to its second consecutive defeat.
"We can learn from this game tonight, but we cannot dwell on it," senior guard Riley Benock said. "We have to put it behind us and get ready for the next game. We know we have another good team coming in, and we really need the win."
The Bulldogs, losers of seven of 10, will need to get better on the defensive end. They are giving up a league-worst 70.6 points per game, and Benock, Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson could face a tough task in defending Walker and Boynton.
The Gators backcourt duo scored 42 points and hit eight 3-pointers in the teams' last meeting, a 75-69 Florida loss in the SEC tournament quarterfinals March 12. That was Mississippi State's third win in the last four matchups.
Johnson, the SEC's fourth-leading scorer with 18.2 points per game, had 12 points in that contest after scoring 20 in a 69-62 loss in Gainesville on Feb. 6.
Florida is 57-48 all-time versus Mississippi State.