Gators extend SEC streak with 72-47 win

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Eli Carter scored 20 points, Dorian Finney-Smith added 16 and Florida handled Mississippi State 72-47 on Saturday night.

The Gators extended their school record for consecutive victories in Southeastern Conference play to 23. The latest one was never in doubt, with Florida (9-6, 2-0 SEC) opening up a double-digit lead in the first six minutes, going up by more than 20 early in the second half and then coasting down the stretch.

Coach Billy Donovan's team shot a blistering 62.5 percent in the first half, making 15 of 24 shots.

The Gators looked like they would lead 39-16 at the break, but Demetrius Houston hit a 65-footer at the buzzer. It was one of the few highlights of the night for the Bulldogs (7-8, 0-2), who have lost eight of their last 10.

Mississippi State lost its first two conference games for the first time since 2006 and extended its road-losing streak to 20 games.

Roquez Johnson led the Bulldogs with 11 points off the bench. Fred Thomas and I.J. Ready added 10 apiece.

Dorian Finney-Smith was the best player on the floor for most of the game, making 7 of 11 shots and adding six rebounds.

Elijah Carter enjoyed his best outing since the second game of the season, making 6 of 8 shots from the field — including 4 of 6 from 3-point range — and sinking all four free throws. He missed significant time this season with a mid-foot sprain and then with strep throat.

Kasey Hill, who finished with nine points and six turnovers in Florida's conference opener, had seven points, seven assists and two rebounds in this one.

Michael Frazier II, who missed two days of practice this week because of an upper respiratory infection, provided a spark off the bench for the second straight game. He finished with six points, four rebounds and three assists.

The Gators played their second straight game without center Jon Horford, who was suspended earlier in the week for conduct detrimental to the team. Donovan reinstated him Friday, but said he wouldn't play against the Bulldogs. Horford wasn't even on the bench.

Walk-on Zach Hodskins remains suspended.

Donovan said Friday the suspensions, along with Frazier's benching, were part of his fight to maintain his program's culture. Donovan is trying to get a team filled with transfers and youngsters to buy in, to practice and play the way he wants and to do it on a consistent basis.

He got all of that Saturday, with Florida playing one of its most complete games of the season.

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TIPS-INS

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs continue to get dominated in the paint. After giving up 60 points in the paint in their previous two games, they allowed 32 inside to Florida. ... Mississippi State hasn't won in Gainesville since 2008, losing four in a row in the O'Dome.

Florida: The Gators have won five straight in the series. ... It was Donovan's 495th career win, leaving him five shy of the 500 mark.

UP NEXT

Mississippi State plays at Texas A&M on Tuesday.

Florida hosts Auburn on Thursday


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