The Gators have had a disastrous end to their regular season, losing an astounding 4 out of their last 5 games. Although some of these losses are to tournament contending teams like the University of Kentucky and University of South Carolina, the Gators needed to win in order to retain any hopes of competing in this year’s NCAA Tournament. At the moment, the Gators’ prospects in this year’s tournament seem pretty dim. With only two games left, there is an almost sure chance the Gators will be left out of March Madness
However the UF did manage to pull a great win on the road against the Missouri Tigers, who are currently last in the SEC standings. The game’s final score, 82-72, showcased the team’s capabilities when focusing their efforts on both offense and defense. It wasn’t until a minute and a half into the game until either team could score a basket against the other. Was it awesome defending on the part of both teams, or two offenses that have been lacking for the better part of the year? Regardless, the Gators’ back to back baskets opened the score, and helped spark an action packed game that fans had been long awaited.
The Gators blocked five shots in the first few minutes of the game, setting the tone for the Tigers the rest of the game. In the first half alone, only 35% of Missouri’s shots touched the net, scoring a lowly 28 points. UF on the other hand, finished the half with a whopping eighteen point lead, ending the half at 46-28. A true showcase of what the Gators were really capable of achieving.
Missouri came out of the locker room determined to close the gap though, preventing the UF from walking away with a blowout win. Sophomore point guard Chris Chiozza, after contributing to seven assists, 5 points, and four rebounds in the first half, increased the Gators’ lead back to 18 points with 19:39 to go. In the next three minutes, he continued his hot streak with another three point basket, and a lay-up. However as the team continued to stretch their lead, Florida seemed to get overly confident. Missouri went forth, and closed the original 21 point gap to only 10 points with three minutes to go – giving the Tigers a real shot of turning the lead around. With a slam-dunk from Finney-Smith though, the Gators exerted their authority on the court, permanently solidifying their lead. The Gators went on to win the game 82-72.
If you liked this post and would like to read more on Gators news and info, check out my twitter @Tony Angiuli for more. Thanks for reading!