Columbia, MO – Laurence Bowers' right wing jumper with 1:15 remaining proved to be the difference-maker, as Missouri remained undefeated at home this season en route to slaying No. 5 Florida, 63-60, on Tuesday at Mizzou Arena.
Bowers finished with a game-high 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Tigers (19-7, 8-5 SEC), who bounced back from a loss at Arkansas on Saturday and improved to 15-0 on their home court. Jabari Brown added 12 points and Phil Pressey scored seven and dished out 10 helpers in the victory.
"Florida is a great offensive team, and I thought our game planning and execution, the way Coach Carter changed up how we defended ball screens." Missouri coach Frank Haith said about the Tigers' team defense. "It kept them off balance a little bit. Our guys just dug in and guarded them for forty minutes. It was a great effort on that end of the court."
Florida had the ball with 19.1 seconds to play and down by a point, but Kenny Boynton's deep 3-point attempt hit the back rim, allowing the Tigers to grab the rebound and close the contest out with free throws. Mike Rosario netted 14 points and Boynton had 11 to go along with four boards for the Gators (21-4, 11-2 SEC), who saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
"We did not want that shot," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I would have liked to have some action driven to the basket. Obviously it didn't go in there. When you are down by one, you want to at least get some penetration. We talked about that during the timeout. I have to see the film. I don't know what kind of look it was for him but in those situations, teams are generally going to try and not foul."
With 30 seconds to play and counting, Pressey was forced to fire a deep trey as the shot clock expired, but it banked off the backboard into the hands of his teammates, who simultaneously grabbed the ball and fell to the ground for a traveling violation.
Keion Bell drained two free throws with 3.1 seconds left to put the Tigers up three before Rosario had a surprisingly good look at the other end of the court, however, his 3-point try at the buzzer missed the basket.
After Brown nailed a 3-pointer with under 3 1/2 minutes remaining to bring the Tigers within one point, Pressey then drove the length of the court for a three-point play and the team's first lead of the game, a 59-57 edge with 2:47 left on the clock.
Both teams then traded possessions and Scottie Wilbekin nailed what seemed to be a clutch stepback 3-pointer to give the Gators a 60-59 lead with 1:39 to play. Ultimately, though, Florida's free throw woes caught up with it, as the Gators made just 6-of-12 attempts from the charity stripe for the game --- including going 0-for-5 at one point in the second half.
Florida opened up the second half outscoring Mizzou 16-8 for a 45-34 lead with 12:47 remaining and led by as many as 13 points before the Tigers started to chip away.
The Gators started the game up on a 20-9 run with Casey Prather's steal-and- slam eight-plus minutes into the action. Florida increased the advantage to 29-18 with 4:37 left before halftime on Michael Frazier's two free throws, but the Gators' offense quickly stalled.
Bell capped off a 8-0 run to end the first half and bring the Tigers within 29-26 at the break.
It was only the second meeting between the two schools. Florida picked up an 83-52 victory in the inaugural meeting on Jan. 19 ... The Gators shot 40.7 percent from the floor, while Missouri shot 43.4 percent ... Swanson had 11 points ... The Tigers turned the ball over 19 times resulting in 16 UF points ... Mizzou won the rebounding battle, 40-28.