Florida crushes SEC newcomer Missouri
by David Jones, USA TODAY Sports
GAINESVILLE — In the past week, Florida sent a message to Missouri and Texas A&M’s basketball teams: Welcome to the SEC.
First, the Gators easily beat the Aggies on a night when A&M planned to party and celebrate football player Johnny Manziel’s Heisman Trophy season. A packed house went home early. Less than 48 hours later, the Tigers came to Gainesville and could have hit the road at halftime in Florida’s 83-52 victory.
The ninth-ranked Gators scored the first 11 points against No. 16 Missouri and, after Phil Pressey’s basket ended the shut out almost four minutes into the contest, the Tigers never got within double digits again as Florida coasted for Billy Donovan’s 400th victory in 17 years as the program’s head coach.
Fifty-eight of those wins have come against ranked teams.
It was the most points Florida has scored in an SEC game this season and the lowest offensive output of the year for Missouri. The Gators shot 59.3 percent from the field while Missouri shot just 32.7 in its worst loss of the season.
Erik Murphy led the way with 15 points while Kenny Boynton had 14 and Scottie Wilbekin and Will Yeguete had 13 each. Wilbekin had 10 assists — matching his career and season high.
The Gators (14-2 overall, 4-0 in the SEC play) had 10 layups in the first 11 minutes of the game and led by as many as 22 points twice in the first half, which ended with Florida on top 40-23. It was the first time in SEC play that the Gators allowed an opponent to score over 20 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Missouri (13-4, 2-2) was without forward and leading scorer Laurence Bowers, with a sprained MCL in his right knee. His absence was obvious at the start as Florida repeatedly drove the lane for easy baskets. Boynton had a team-best nine points in the first half alone as UF used great balance to build its lead while playing just … [For more on No. 9 Florida crushes SEC newcomer Missouri without Laurence Bowers, click here.]