Sat, 21 May 2022

Anthony Duruji lifts Florida to comeback win over Mississippi State

Field Level Media
20 Jan 2022, 12:19 GMT+10

Anthony Duruji tallied 22 points, grabbed five steals and keyed a late 22-7 run as Florida won its second straight Southeastern Conference game, beating Mississippi State 80-72 on Wednesday in Gainesville, Fla.

Down by six at halftime after being dominated inside, Florida (11-6, 2-3 SEC) continued its hot shooting from distance -- making 10 of 24 in the contest -- to secure the comeback victory over the Bulldogs (12-5, 3-2).

Sparking Florida's offense, Duruji was 6 of 8 from the floor, including 2 of 3 from long distance, and 8 of 9 at the foul line. He finished a crucial three-point play for a 70-66 lead with 4:31 left.

Tyree Appleby produced 17 points, five assists and four rebounds for Florida. Kowacie Reeves totaled 14 points, and Phlandrous Fleming Jr. had 10.

The Gators finished 24 of 30 (80 percent) at the free-throw line, while the Bulldogs were 14 of 22 (63.6 percent).

Florida played without 6-foot-11 Colin Castleton, who injured a shoulder Tuesday in practice. The big man tops the Gators in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

Shakeel Moore notched 18 points and Tolu Smith totaled 17 points and six rebounds for Mississippi State, which lost for just the second time in eight games.

Reigning SEC Player of the Week Iverson Molinar scored just 12 points for the Bulldogs, with his only second-half basket coming in the final minute. He added five assists and four rebounds.

Mississippi State went almost five minutes without scoring in the game's last six minutes.

Without Castleton in the lineup, Mississippi State outscored Florida 10-2 in the paint to grab a 13-11 edge just over five minutes into the teams' only regular-season meeting.

The visitors went on a 9-0 run over a three-plus-minute span to lead 31-23 with 5:10 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs led by as many as 10 in the half, but Reeves and Appleby drained 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 41-35 at the break.

Mississippi State led for all but a few seconds over the first 15 minutes of the second half before Florida moved in front for good on two Fleming free throws with 4:58 to go.

--Field Level Media

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