The Florida Gators were trying to secure a much needed win. The Ole Miss Rebels were trying to push their five-game win streak to six. Andy Kennedy's team had the ball, coming out of a timeout with 18 seconds to go down 61-59.
The ball moved freely around the perimeter, as the UF defense cut off one option after another. Eventually, it ended up in Stafan Moody's hands, and he wasn't about to let a thing like extra distance on a shot deter him:
And that's how Ole Miss completed a sweep of Florida in 2014-15 by two total points.
The Rebels have been rising through conference play, and their two escapes against Florida are a big reason why. They're the difference between being 17-7 (8-3) and 15-9 (6-4), the latter of which is probably not enough to be a real postseason contender. With three bad non-conference losses (Charleston Southern, TCU, Western Kentucky), Ole Miss had to win a ton of SEC games to have a good resume. With losses only to Kentucky (road), LSU, and Georgia (road), they're getting there.
But as Ole Miss is rising, Florida is sinking. Another night of subpar shooting—37.7% from the floor, 66.7% from the free throw line—and a little bad luck (Moody's dagger) doomed the team yet again. Florida has not been able to finish this season, which is why the current No. 35 team in the KenPom ratings is .500 on the year and under .500 in league play. UF is ahead of LSU (39) and well ahead of Texas A&M (52) in those ratings, but the Tigers and Aggies will punch dance tickets as long as they don't collapse and the Gators won't.
The turnaround in league play versus the non-conference schedule should get Kennedy some SEC coach of the year consideration. It took some time for the team to find its stride, but only Kentucky has had a better SEC run so far than Ole Miss has.
The Rebels have a quick turnaround with a Saturday match at home against Arkansas, but they head into it in tremendous shape.