Rebels fight hard but fall at Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Ole Miss trimmed a 25-point second-half deficit to 7, but the upset bid of the nation's top team would end there as Florida prevailed 79-70 at home Saturday. The Rebels could have pulled within 4 points with 2:27 remaining, but Eniel Polynice missed on a 3-point attempt.

Ole Miss used a full-court press and 50-percent shooting to kickstart a 29-11 run that began with 18 minutes left in the game. Clarence Sanders scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the second stanza. Polynice dropped in all 8 of his points during the late Rebel surge.

Joakim Noah had two momentum-changing baskets down the stretch, finished with a season-high 24 points. With the Gators leading 66-57, Noah blocked Greg Hardy's shot, ran to the other end of the floor, caught a full-court pass from Al Horford and converted a three-point play - scoring on a circus shot and then making the free throw.

The 6-foot-11 center started thumping his chest when the ball fell through the basket, giving the Gators (17-2, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) an emotional boost.

Florida extended the lead to 13 points, 73-60, but the Rebels stormed back by creating several turnovers. Ole Miss (12-7, 1-4) used three straight buckets to make it a seven-point game for the second time.

But Noah rebounded Taurean Green's missed 3-point shot and slammed it home for another momentum-turning play. Green made two free throws, and Horford had a dunk in the closing minutes to seal the victory.

Todd Abernethy posted 14 points and Bam Doyne scored 11. Dwayne Curtis added 10 points.

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