Turnovers doom Ole Miss men’s basketball in loss at Florida

Published 8:16 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Holding on to the basketball continues to be a problem for Ole Miss.

Ole Miss made it interesting late, but 21 turnovers contributed to a hole that proved too deep for the Rebels to climb out of in a 70-63 loss at No. 24 Florida on Tuesday that kept them winless in Southeastern Conference play.

Deandre Burnett paced Ole Miss (9-5, 0-2 SEC) with 18 points while Sebastian Saiz posted his fifth straight double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, but the Rebels trailed by 15 late in the first half with 14 of their turnovers coming in the first 20 minutes and never recovered. It’s the second-most turnovers this season for Ole Miss, which began the day next to last in the SEC in turnover margin (minus-2.1) having committed the most turnovers in the league.

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Ole Miss trailed by as many as 20 in the second half but chipped away, using a 9-0 spurt with less than two minutes left to get within two possessions at 67-61. But the Rebels didn’t get any closer.

Ole Miss shot a season-high 51 percent from the floor but only got up 47 shots. Terence Davis and Cullen Neal, Ole Miss’ third- and fourth-leading scorers, combined for just nine points on 4 of 12 shooting while Neal and Burnett combined for nine turnovers.

Florida’s Canyon Berry came off the bench to lead all scorers with 20 points. KeVaughn Allen added 14 points for Florida (11-3, 2-0), which scored 18 points off of turnovers.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Rasheed Brooks and Neal got the Rebels within single digits with 14:18 left, but Florida answered with an 11-0 run and stayed in control. Ole Miss couldn’t consistently balance Saiz’s production on the interior as the Rebels made just three more shots from beyond the 3-point line to finish 5 of 19 (26 percent) from deep.

Ole Miss will stay on the road Saturday at Auburn. Tip is set for 5 p.m.