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The Gators beat Missouri to improve to 30-2 and advance to Saturday's SEC Tournament semifinals.

Friday March 14, 2014At the Buzzer: Florida 72, Missouri 49 (Instant Analysis)

The Gators beat Missouri to improve to 30-2 and advance to Saturday's SEC Tournament semifinals.

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry Senior Writer


WHAT HAPPENED: In the blink of an eye, the top-ranked Gators turned a tight game into another Southeastern Conference rout. UF smothered the Tigers defensively, allowed just 20 second-half points and ran away behind transition baskets and yet another rain of 3-point shots. Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin and sophomore guard Michael Frazier scored 15 points each, combining to go 10-for-12 from the 3-point line, as the Gators won their 24th straight Friday behind that after-intermission blitz of the Tigers in quarterfinal play of the SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome.

WHAT IT MEANS: UF advanced to the tournament semifinals in its quest to win the SEC tourney for the first time since 2007. In the bigger picture? Florida remained the favorite for the No.1 overall seed when the NCAA Tournament opens next week.  

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The 3-point line. The Gators came into the game having made 47.8 percent from the arc over their previous three games and continued that torrid spree. Against the Tigers, UF went 12-for-21 (57.1 percent) from deep. Wilbekin and Frazier each made five, with sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith chipping in two treys on four attempts. UF was 6-for-9 after halftime. Missouri, meanwhile, came in hitting 34 percent from deep for the season. The Tigers went 1-for-13 from the arc (7.7 percent).

STAGGERING STATISTIC: The game was tied at 29 at halftime. Florida won the game by 23 and held Missouri to just 20 second-half points.

SUBPLOT: UF’s struggles from the free-throw line are back. The Gators went 10-for-20 from the line -- and that's Casey Prather going 7-for-8. That means the rest of the team was 3-for-12. That bears watching in games to come.

UP NEXT: The Gators (30-2) will face either fourth-seeded Tennessee (20-11) or tourney surprise South Carolina (14-19) in the semifinal round Saturday at 1 p.m. Those two were playing the second game Friday. Missouri needed a win over UF to bolster its NCAA hopes, so likely will have to settle for an NIT berth.


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