Gainesville, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The third-ranked Florida Gators will
continue their three-game homestand on Tuesday night when they take on the
Missouri Tigers in SEC action at the O'Connell Center.
Missouri had been winners of back-to-back games prior to its most recent bout
at home with nationally-ranked Kentucky, which it dropped, 84-79. The Tigers
are a stellar 16-5 overall this season but have had an up-and-down run in the
SEC (4-4). They've held their own on the road, winning three of five.
Florida has been nothing short of outstanding on the campaign, going 19-2,
tying its best 21-game start in program history, while staking claim to first
place in the SEC with an 8-0 league ledger. The Gators had one of their most
dominating wins of the season on Saturday versus Texas A&M, 69-36, to extend
their school-record home winning streak to 27 games.
The teams met for the first time in last season's two-game series, with each
side winning on its home floor.
The Tigers battled within single digits of Kentucky for most of their latest
game, but while they brought their deficit to as little as three with under a
minute remaining, they could never overtake the lead. They shot a stellar 52.9
percent from the field but were outpaced by the Wildcats, who made 53.6
percent of their tries from the floor. Jabari Brown shined in the setback with
a career-high 33 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field and 10-of-12 at
the free-throw line. Jordan Clarkson was also outstanding with 28 points.
Missouri has shown great balance on the season, as it outshoots its opponents
from the field, 46.4 percent to 39.4 percent, while ranking in the top-six in
the SEC in both scoring offense (75.0 ppg) and scoring defense (67.4 ppg). The
team also boasts an impressive rebounding margin (+6.9) and free-throw
percentage (.720). Brown's most recent outburst allowed him to make claim to
the SEC scoring lead with 20.4 ppg, doing so on 50.8 percent from the field
and 62-of-130 from 3-point range (.477). Clarkson acts as the go-to option on
certain nights, putting up 18.9 ppg, while adding 3.4 apg and 1.3 spg as well.
Rounding out one of the nation's best scoring trios is Earnest Ross with 14.2
The Gators shot 41.1 percent from the field in their game over the weekend and
outscored Texas A&M at the free-throw line, 18-4, but the biggest story of
their 33-point victory was the excellent play of their defense, as they held
A&M to a lowly 14-of-54 from the field (.259). Michael Frazier led the way
with 21 points and Dorian Finney-Smith had 11 points and nine rebounds. Patric
Young (14 rebounds) and Will Yeguete (10 rebounds) were also big factors in
the squad's eye-popping 57-27 advantage on the glass.
Florida's defense has been making headlines all season long, as it yields just
57.4 ppg on 38.4 percent field goal shooting, with both numbers not only
ranking tops in the SEC but in the top-10 nationally. The offensive attack,
which puts up 71.2 ppg on 46 percent from the field, is led by Casey Prather
with 16.2 ppg on greater than 62 percent shooting from the floor. Frazier
(12.6 ppg) has drained 58 3-pointers at a 43.3 percent clip, while Scottie
Wilbekin (11.9 ppg, 3.6 apg), Young (10.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Finney-Smith (10.3
ppg, 7.8 rpg) round out one of the country's deepest teams.
The Sports Network