Down 49-36 with 10:54 remaining, Jabari Brown hit a three to start a 12-0 run to bring the Tigers to within one point of the Gators. Missouri would keep the game close until finally taking their first lead, 59-57, on a traditional three point play by Pressey with 2:51 left in the game. Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin would respond and hit a three to take back the lead, but on the ensuing possession Bowers hit a jumper on an assist from Pressey to give the Tigers the lead for good. Keion Bell made two free throws in between two missed Florida three point attempts to give Missouri the win.
Pressey finished the game with seven points and 10 assists, and Bowers had a game-high 17 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. It was Bowers fifth double-double of the season and his first in his seven games since returning from an injury.
The win improves Missouri to 19-7 overall and 8-5 in the SEC in addition to keeping them a perfect 16-0 at home. Florida falls to 21-4, 11-2.
The win changes the outlook of Missouri’s NCAA tournament standing after a tough last second loss to Arkansas Feb. 16. The Tigers entered Tuesday as a nine seed according to Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology, and, as Wally noted, Missouri does not want to have to face a top seed in the second round of the tournament. The win over Florida likely clears them of any bubble talk for the NCAA tournament and gets them trending out of the 8-9 seed range.
Missouri heads off to Lexington, Kentucky boasting a 23rd overall KenPom rating and a win over KenPom’s top team (who remained number one even after the loss). Kentucky, who plays Vanderbilt tonight, is without Nerlens Noel for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. While a win over Kentucky on the road may not be as valuable as it was two weeks ago, it would go a long way towards Mizzou improving their seeding. A win at Rupp Arena and Mizzou will really be in business heading into the final two weeks of the season.
BLACK AND GOLD NUGGETS
– Missouri held Florida to 10-33 (30.3%) shooting from behind the arc for the game, slightly better than the 34.1% Missouri had been allowing to opponents in conference. It take greater meaning when you consider Florida entered Tuesday night making 42.1% of their threes in SEC play, and made 42.1% of their threes against the Tigers in Gainesville.
– Does Pressey have his game back? Pressey line in the final 15:50 of the game as totaled by Gabe DeArmond: five points, two rebounds, seven assists, zero turnovers.
– Missouri showed impressive defensive flashes throughout the game and at key times during their comeback. The Tigers defense held Florida to zero points in the final 4:39 of the first half, created three turnovers during Mizzou’s 12-0 run to get back into the game in the second half, and allowed only three field goals in the final 7:42 of the game. The 60 points scored by the Gators was their lowest scoring output for the season.
A PARTING SHOT
With the loss to Missouri, Florida falls to 0-4 in games decided by 11 points or less. All 21 of Florida’s wins have come by a margin of at least 12 points.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouHoops) February 20, 2013