Florida vs. Missouri score: Gators come back from 12 down to win fourth straight
The first half was not pretty Saturday for the Florida Gators, but when all was said and done, they tacked on a fourth straight win to for the first time this season in a 64-60 victory over the Missouri Tigers at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators (16-11, 8-6 SEC) struggled shooting in both halves but came away with a win in large part because the Tigers (12-14, 3-11 SEC) lost two starters to fouls.
Let’s take a look at what went down in UF’s fourth consecutive win.
It was over when … senior guard KeVaughn Allen made a pair of free throws to increase Florida’s lead to four with 5 seconds to play. The Gators went 0-for-4 from the field over the final 4:17 but went 5-for-6 from the line over that stretch to maintain its slight lead. Mizzou missed three shots over the final 25 seconds and 5 of 6 over the final 2:32 of the game.
Florida trailed by nine at the break as it missed eight of its final nine shots and had as many made field goals as turnovers in the first half (seven). Mizzou kept the pressure on early in the second period until UF erupted on a 14-3 stretch to cut its deficit to three with 12:03 to play. A timely made three-pointer by freshman G Noah Locke — his only basket of the day — came off balance and with the shot clock buzzer sounding, but it gave the hosts their first lead of the second half. A 6-0 run followed moments later, and the Gators held on for the final 4:17.
Exceptional efforts: Allen’s fantastic work at the line (9 of 10) gave him a game-high 17 points as he missed all four of his attempts from beyond the arc. Freshman forward Keyontae Johnson was by far the most consistent player, making half his shots for 13 points with seven rebounds. Redshirt senior G Jalen Hudson also checked in with 11 points, including a key trey late in the game, to go along with five boards.
Odds and ends: Locke missed his first five shots and first four threes until his aforementioned make; he’s 7-of-33 from the field (.212) and 5-of-26 from downtown (.192) over the last four games … freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard missed his only attempted shot — a three late in the game — but hit all four of his free throws … Florida only led for 6:20 of the 40-minute game … the Tigers took 12 more shots than the Gators, but the hosts had 17 more chances from the charity stripe as two of the visitors fouled out
What it means: It looked dire for Florida early in the second half down 12 at home, but the team truly rallied late in the game despite some of its best players failing to find the bottom of the net. Though it was not a quality victory for the Gators, they avoided a “bad loss,” which would have tarnished their NCAA Tournament resume. With four straight wins for the first time this season, Florida will look to keep that run going with the campaign coming to a close shortly.
Up next: UF will look to extend its winning streak to five games when it travels to Vanderbilt on Wednesday at 9 p.m. The Commodores have not yet won a game in SEC play this season, and the Gators beat them 66-57 back on Feb. 13. The game will air live nationally on SEC Network.