By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
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NASHVILLE – Murphy Holloway scored a game-high 23 points Sunday and third-seeded Ole Miss captured its first Southeastern Conference Tournament since 1981 with a 66-63 win against SEC regular-season champion Florida at Bridgestone Arena.
The Rebels (26-8) were making their fifth all-time appearance in the SEC Tournament championship game and first since 2001. Ole Miss’ tournament crown on Sunday was just its second all-time, as the Rebels bested Georgia in 1981.
Holloway’s 23 points came on 11-of-14 shooting and was complemented by a game-high 10 rebounds. SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player Marshall Henderson scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, including three three-pointers and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Reginald Buckner added 11 points.
Ole Miss shot 47.4 percent (27-of-57) from the field in the game, including a sizzling 53.6 percent (15-of-28) clip in the second half. Florida shot 37.3 percent (22-of-59) from the floor. The Rebels out-rebounded the Gators 37-34.
Florida (26-7), which was the tournament’s top seed, led 38-26 at halftime, but was out-scored 40-25 in the second half. The Gators connected on just 9-of-31 shots from the field in the game’s final period.
The Gators were led by Mike Rosario’s team-high 18 points and nine rebounds, while Kenny Boynton added 13 points.
The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament selection show will air at 6 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS.
SEC All-Tournament Team
MVP: Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss
Kenny Boynton, Florida
Erik Murphy, Florida
Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss
Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss
Championship Game Notes:
• Ole Miss earns the second SEC Tournament championship in its history and its first since 1981.
• By winning the SEC Tournament title, the Rebels also earned the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
• It was Ole Miss’ fifth appearance in the SEC championship game and second victory.
• Marshall Henderson becomes the first-ever SEC Tournament MVP from Ole Miss.
All-Time Series: Florida now leads the series 61-43. Ole Miss ended a streak of five Florida victories in the series.
In SEC Tournament Games: Florida is now 4-3 vs. Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament.
Earlier this Season: Florida won the two teams’ only prior meeting in 2013, 78-64, on Feb. 2 in Gainesville.
• Ole Miss overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat Florida 66-63.
• The Rebels trailed 38-26 at halftime. They drew even at 43 on a Reginald Buckner dunk with 13:37 left. They took their first lead of the game on three Marshall Henderson free throws at the 12:16 mark, giving them a 48-46 advantage.
• Florida scored the game’s first four points and reached double digits at the 15:21 mark on a Michael Frazier 3-point shot.
• The Gators got their first double-figure lead at at 15-4 on another Frazier 3-pointer with 13:08 left in the first half.
Ole Miss Notes:
• Ole Miss improves to 26-8 and has won seven of its last eight.
• Marshall Henderson, the SEC scoring leader, tallied 21 points, 18 in the second half, as the Rebels were overcoming a 12-point halftime deficit.
• In the second half, Ole Miss outscored its three SEC Tournament opponents by nine (vs. Missouri), by 12 (vs. Vanderbilt) and by 15 (vs. Florida).
• Murphy Holloway led all scorers with 23 points on 11x14 shooting from the field.
• Holloway and Reginald Buckner joined Henderson on the All-SEC Tournament team.
• Florida falls to 26-7 on the season.
• This was the Gators’ ninth appearance in the SEC Tournament championship game. Florida is now 3-6 in SEC championship games.
• Mike Rosario led Florida in scoring with 18 points. He’s now led the Gators in scoring for a team-best 14 times this season.
• Kenny Boynton added 13 points, 11 of which came in the first half. He joined Erik Murphy as Florida’s representatives on the All-SEC Tournament team.
• Florida shot 46 percent from the field in the first half, 29 percent in the second period.