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Tuesday February 4, 2014At the Buzzer: Florida 68, Missouri 58 (Instant Analysis)

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry Senior Writer


WHAT HAPPENED: The Gators may have their offensive lulls, but as long as they can lean on that defense there will be games like Tuesday night when third-ranked UF found its scoring after halftime and went on to beat the Tigers for a 14th straight win. Sophomore guard Michael Frazier, who was 0-for-4 from 3-point range in the first half, sank four treys after intermission to finish with 14 points. Senior guard Scottie Wilbekin led UF with 19 points, including 13 of 16 from the free three line, with a bunch down the stretch to salt the game away.

WHAT IT MEANS: Florida remained unbeaten in the Southeastern Conference, two games up on Kentucky. The win also marked the 20th of the season for the Gators. Make that 16 straight seasons UF has hit the 20-win milestone, all under Coach Billy Donovan, of course. That’s the third-longest streak in the nation (behind Syracuse and Duke) for a team with the same coach.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Chris Walker, the 2013 McDonald’s All-American, made a splashy debut with two thunderous dunks on alley-oop passes from Kasey Hill in the first half. Note: Check out SportsCenter, they’ll be on there. The 6-foot-10 center finished with four points, one rebound, and two blocked shots in seven minutes.

STAGGERING STATISTIC: How manyDonovan teams have had trouble scoring. For the sixth straight game, the Gators failed to hit the 70-point threshold. Plus, a 1-for-11 start from the 3-point line is a trend that bears watching. The Gators are now 31.9 percent from distance in SEC play.

SUBPLOT: Big hand to the Rowdy Reptiles, who filled their lower bowl section two hours before the game in just 16 minutes, many dressed in “Suit and Tie” as part of the group’s push to get post star Justin Timberlake to the O’Connell Center for the season finale against Kentucky. Those student were fantastic during the game -- and during timeouts too. The highlight was a flash mob performance (wonderfully choreographed by the Dazzlers) to the song “Suit and Tie.”

UP NEXT: Florida (20-2, 9-0) is off until Saturday when it finishes off this three-game home stand with a rematch against Alabama (9-12, 3-5). The Gators defeated the Crimson Tide 68-62 on Jan. 23 at Tuscaloosa.


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