GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Coming off a 78-76 win over then-No. 24 Alabama on Saturday, the Mississippi State faces another stiff challenge as it takes a trip to face the Florida Gators Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. CT inside Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The contest will air on SEC Network.
In Saturday’s win over Alabama, the Bulldogs (12-4, 3-1 SEC) built an early lead and used a late free throw to seal the victory. Junior guard Iverson Molinar finished with a game-high 24 points for the Bulldogs. He also had six rebounds and four assists, while graduate forward Garrison Brooks had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Shakeel Moore added 15 points, including going 9-for-9 at the free-throw line.
Molinar ranks third in the Southeastern Conference in scoring with 17.9 points per game, trailing only Arkansas senior guard JD Notae and Vanderbilt Scotty Pippen Jr., who both average 18.8. Redshirt junior forward Tolu Smith (12.8), graduate forward Garrison Brooks (11.1), sophomore guard Shakeel Moore (10.8) and junior forward D.J. Jefferies (10.4) all average double-digit points.
The Gators (10-6, 1-3 SEC) got their first SEC win on Saturday when they defeated South Carolina 71-63, avoiding their first 0-4 start to league play since 1950.
Florida is led by senior forward Colin Castleton with 15.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. He ranks second in the SEC in rebounds, blocks and shooting percentage and has recorded six double-doubles on the year. Graduate guard Philandrous Fleming Jr. is the only other Gator scoring in double figures. He is putting up 10.9 points a game.
Wednesday’s meeting between the Bulldogs and Gators will be the 118th on the hardwood. Florida leads the all-time series 65-52, but MSU has won the last three.