Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators avoid collapse with nail-biter win at Mizzou

By Adam Silverstein
February 2, 2022
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators avoid collapse with nail-biter win at Mizzou
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

What appeared to be another second-half collapse … was still another second-half collapse, but this time, the Florida Gators prevailed at the last second for a 66-65 win over the Missouri Tigers. Florida improved to 14-8 (4-5 SEC) with the win and has an opportunity to move to .500 in league play next week.

The Gators were in a tough spot Wednesday afternoon playing in Columbia, Missouri, earlier than initially scheduled amid dangerous weather in the area. They were also short-handed entering the game with senior forward Colin Castleton (shoulder) still out indefinitely.

Florida was inconsistent throughout the entire 40 minutes but relied on some heroics from a pair of players — one in each half — to keep its head above water at the final buzzer. This despite the Gators trailing for a span of 15:56 in the second half.

What went down on Wednesday night in Columbia? Take a look at some Fastbreak Takeaways from Florida’s win.

It was over when … Mizzou missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer. UF senior point guard Tyree Appleby made two free throws with 7.9 seconds left to put the visitors ahead for the first time since the 16:03 mark of the second half. Sophomore forward Tuongthach Gatkek previously delivered a huge block with 2.2 seconds remaining to thwart a higher-percentage shot by the Tigers, and the Gators were able to hang on following the game-ending miss.

Florida’s signature second-half collapse was clear from the start of the second half as Mizzou used a 13-3 run to outscore the visitors 21-10 to open the period, turning a two-point deficit into a nine-point home lead with 8:04 left to play. The Tigers maintained their advantage until the final 8 seconds, thwarting every other Gators comeback attempt with a basket as the visitors failed to get consistent stops. Ultimately, though, UF got stops on the final two possessions, and Appleby avoided a turnover to get himself a chance at the line to pick up the win.

First half focus: Senior guard Myreon Jones broke out of a long slump by scoring 15 of Florida’s first 23 points in the opening period while making 5 of 6 attempts from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, his teammates were hardly any help. The rest of the team made just 6 of 16 field goals over the first 20 minutes with the Gators only putting in three baskets inside the arc. UF led by single hoop at the break.

Exceptional efforts: Appleby had a silent first half thanks two a pair of early fouls, but he came through from a scoring perspective over the latter 20 minutes, posting all 17 of his points by going 10 for 10 on free throw attempts and hitting 3 of 4 shots from the field. Jones, on the other hand, completely cooled off after his hot-shooting first half, but he still finished with a game-high 18 points by hitting 5 of 8 triples and adding five boards.

Odds and ends: Senior forward Anthony Duruji hit 5 of 9 shots for 14 points … redshirt senior G Phlandrous Fleming Jr. was incredibly inefficient but posted 12 points with 6 boards and 3 assists … Florida committed 16 turnovers with five players giving up the ball multiple times … the Gators once again shot more 3s than 2s in the first half (14-9) only to reverse that trend in the second half (9-20); they scored 33 points in each period … Florida shot worse than 40% from the field for the ninth time this season; it is 5-4 in those games … the Gators improved to 8-4 all-time against the Tigers, pulling even 3-3 in Columbia, Missouri … White is now 5-2 against Mizzou … Florida is now 101-27 when allowing less than 70 points to an opponent under White

What it means: Despite the win, this was another sub-par performance by the Gators against a Tigers team that entered 8-12 (2-5 SEC). Florida was put in a tough situation with a road game being moved up to a weekday afternoon amid weather concerns, but that’s hardly an excuse for yet another second-half collapse. UF remains one of the nation’s most inconsistent and inefficient teams. It struggles to play winning basketball; in other words, it does not take high-percentage shots, turns the ball over too frequently and does not put itself in position to win games. This despite its notable roster deficiencies due to injury.

What’s next? Florida has consecutive home games on the docket for just the second time this year. It will host Ole Miss on Saturday in a 3:30 p.m. ET tip on SEC Network before Georgia comes to town on Wednesday evening.

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