Billy Donovan earns Florida victory No. 400 as Gators defeat Missouri 83-52
The Gators put on a defensive clinic and balanced that effort with 59 percent shooting from the field to defeat Missouri 83-52 in front of 12,597 at the O’Connell Center Saturday afternoon – win No. 400 for Florida coach Billy Donovan at Florida.
It was the worst loss for Missouri (13-4, 2-2 SEC) since a 100-63 loss to Kansas in 2008.
The Gators and Ole Miss are the lone teams with undefeated SEC records.
“A 30-point victory against one of the best teams in the SEC?,’’ Florida center Patric Young said. “It was a great victory. I’m sure nobody expected that. I know they thought they were going to come in here and upset us, but we were prepared so well for this game and we really wanted this win.”
They played like it from the opening tip, when Young tapped the ball to junior guard Scottie Wilbekin who went in for a layup and a lead the Gators never relinquished. Florida led 40-23 at halftime, holding the Tigers (13-4, 2-2) to 33.3 percent from the field, forcing 12 turnovers and outscoring Missouri 22-6 in the paint. Missouri was ranked No. 1 nationally in rebounding, but the Gators outrebounded the Tigers 35-25, only the fourth team this season to accomplish that.
The postgame celebration included a surprise dumping of the ice bucket on Donovan, but the longtime Gator coach insisted the milestone victory wasn’t about him, but past and present players.
“Like I’ve said before, I think all those individual things as it relates to coaching, it’s much, much more of a reflection on the players I’ve had a chance to coach here,’’ Donovan said. That’s really what it’s about. For me to be here and to be a part of 400 wins, I don’t look at them as my wins I look at them as University of Florida wins. And just seeing (former Gator) Jason Williams was here today watching the game, he’s a part of that too. There’s a lot of guys that were not in the building that were a part of it. So I never, ever look at those things as being something I did. There’s a lot of people involved. I happen to be the head coach so the won/loss is on my record, but overall there’s a lot of people that were not here that played a significant role in it.”
More from Donovan on the game: