VETTEL: Classy, Gutsy Win

With Corey Brewer still about half speed and Lee Humphrey out with his shoulder injury, the Gator Basketball Team entered Tuesday night's game at Ole Miss with two major problems. Add to that the Gators' all-time losing record in Tad Smith Coliseum and Billy Donovan's team faced a bigger challenge than Ole Miss might normally provide.

Florida had to start freshmen Walter Hodge and David Huertas and the rookies combined for 19 points. The Gators actually got first half playing time for Brett Swanson and Garrett Tyler as the Florida mentor tried to make the most of his depleted bench.

The end result, an 11-point win that gets the Gators their second SEC road win of the season. It also sets up Florida to try and finish the first half of the league schedule 6-and-2, if they can beat Kentucky Saturday night. Florida improved to 19-and-2 overall and moved Florida within one win of the school's eighth straight 20-win season.

Defense Did Not Rest

While Ole Miss shot a pretty decent percentage for the game, I thought Florida's defense for most of the night was excellent. It's not easy to hold a team shooting it well under 60 points, but Florida did that by forcing Ole Miss to take a lot of time on most of its possessions.

Billy Donovan talked about his mixing up defenses on his post-game radio show. "I really thought it was going to be hard for us to play the whole game man-to-man, because (Dwayne) Curtis and (Jermey) Parnell are just too big up front and they fatigue you. I was really concerned about Al and Jo and Chris and Adrian getting into foul trouble. We tried to mix in some zone and some different looks to try and keep them off balance a little bit."

The official stat crew apparently had not seen many college games before, because the Gators only blocked two shots on the night. If you were watching the same game I was you saw Al Horford block two in the final three minutes alone.

Rebounding Remains a Concern

While there is much to celebrate about this win for a number of reasons, Florida regressed again in one key area. Ole Miss out rebounded the Gators, marking the fifth time in seven conference outings Florida had lost the battle of the boards.

Billy Donovan said on his post-game show the blame lies with the perimeter guys. "It's not our front court, it's not," Donovan said. "When we don't have Corey Brewer in there for extended minutes, we become a very small team. We've got an unbelievable challenge on Saturday against Kentucky, because Lee Humphrey I'm sure will probably not play. Now, all of a sudden we go with Huertas and Hodge and Taurean Green and we're six-foot, six-foot and six-three or four. It's hard to rebound when you're asking two guys to rebound when you need all five,

Taurean Remains A Money Man

Florida sophomore guard Taurean Green continues to add to his resume' on a nightly basis. Green led the Gators with 17 points and, as usual knocked down four straight free throws in the final 1:01 to help ice the game. Green is going to hard to ignore when all conference teams are chosen at the end of the year. Entering this week only one SEC player, Ronnie Brewer of Arkansas had score more points in conference play than the Gator sophomore. Green also led the SEC in free throw percentage and assists, two hugely important stats for a point guard.

Corey Brewer played just 18 points at Ole Miss and failed to score, but I look for the guy I call "Spiderman" to be a lot better by Saturday. Also, don't be shocked if Lee Humphrey tries to give it a go. His shoulder injury is not the kind where there's much risk of it getting worse. It's more about range of motion and pain tolerance.

I listened to more radio than usual Tuesday night. I hope you guys realize how good you have it with Mick Hubert and Mark Wise.

Keep those emails coming!

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I look forward to you joining me on the radio, Sunday nights from 6:00-to-8:00 on Gainesville's WSKY-FM 97.3 (877/975-9825 toll free)

Have a great week.

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