Florida vs Mississippi State

Time: 08:00 P.M. EST
  •  

Although it never led in the opening half of its most recent game, Florida managed to record its latest decisive SEC victory. The Gators may have a good chance to earn another Saturday night.

Eighth-ranked Florida will try to add to one of its best starts in conference play when it visits struggling Mississippi State.

Florida faced its first halftime deficit in five SEC games Wednesday because of Georgia's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but the Gators responded by outscoring the home team 40-20 over the final 20 minutes of a 64-47 victory.

Scottie Wilbekin matched a career high with 17 points in his team's seventh consecutive win.

Florida (15-2, 5-0) has won its league games by an average of 24.8 points, allowing 48.4 per contest and shooting 35.1 percent. The Gators, tied atop the conference with Mississippi, are also shooting 50.4 percent and nearly 40.0 from 3-point range in SEC play.

Florida has earned three of its past four conference victories on the road and has won four straight away games. The Gators are on the verge of their first eight-game overall win streak since Nov. 15-Dec. 4, 2009.

"It's really difficult to win on the road, and I give our guys credit," coach Billy Donovan said. "When you can win on the road in your conference, I think it's a big deal. ... If you can play over .500 basketball on the road, you've really done a good job."

After this game, Florida plays four of five at home.

The Gators have started 6-0 or better in the SEC twice. They won their first 11 conference games in 2006-07 en route to their second of back-to-back NCAA titles and opened 7-0 in 2002-03.

A matchup with Mississippi State (7-10, 2-3) would appear to give them an excellent opportunity for a third such start, though the Bulldogs have done surprisingly well against Florida recently.

Mississippi State has dropped its last three games by a combined 73 points. It's among the least proficient offensive teams in SEC play, scoring 59.6 per game and shooting 39.9 percent, while giving up 71.6 points.

The Bulldogs recorded a season high for points allowed in a 96-70 loss at Arkansas on Wednesday and gave up 54 in the second half. They also committed 29 turnovers, their highest total since Nov. 11, 2006.

"Our defense is beginning to slide downhill. We have things that need to be fixed," first-year coach Rick Ray said.

Freshman guard Fred Thomas, averaging 10.6 points, had a career high-tying 17 in the loss but only two other Bulldogs reached double figures, with neither scoring more than 11.

Roquez Johnson, averaging a team-best 10.7 points, was held to single digits for the fourth straight game with nine. He has averaged 5.3 points in that stretch.

Then-No. 18 Mississippi State lost its only matchup with then-No. 14 Florida last season, 69-57 on Jan. 28 in Gainesville. It was only their second win in six meetings with the Bulldogs, who have taken the last two matchups and three of four in Starkville.

Mississippi State has lost four straight to Top 25 foes and gone 1-5 in the last six visits from ranked teams. The lone win was a 71-64 victory over then-No. 24 Florida on Jan. 29, 2011.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
College Basketball Current Odds
GameCurrent Line
Florida
@ Mississippi State
-20
 
Southeastern
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Kentucky18-038-11
Arkansas13-527-920
LSU11-722-1157
Georgia11-721-1238
Texas A&M11-721-1267
Ole Miss11-721-1360
Vanderbilt9-921-14104
Alabama8-1019-1585
Florida8-1016-1772
Tennessee7-1116-1696
S. Carolina6-1217-1691
Miss. State6-1213-19216
Auburn4-1415-20128
Missouri3-159-23218

Related Video

August 28, 2015
Inside College Hoops (1:12)
August 26, 2015
Candid Coaches Series
(1:17)
August 24, 2015
Candid Coaches: Best Defensive Coach
(1:23)
August 21, 2015
John Groce's struggles
(1:46)
 
 
 
 
Other Games
SYR 71 Final
NOVA 75
OHST 65 Final
PSU 51
ND 73 Final
USF 65
LOU 51 Final
GTOWN 53
MD 64 Final
DUKE 84
KSU 67 Final
IAST 73
MINN 44 Final
WISC 45
OKLA 54 Final
KAN 67
NMEX 34 Final
SDSU 55
VAN 59 Final
MIZZ 81
TEMP 71 Final
BUTL 83
USC 50 Final
ARIZ 74
UNC 83 Final
NCST 91
WASH 76 Final
ORE 81
SF 52 Final
GONZ 66
MISS 63 Final
AUB 61
LAS 69 Final
VCU 61
BRAD 39 Final
WICH 73