Saturday, June 23, 2018
Sports

Florida blows lead, falls to Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Gators knew they would face a tough test at Missouri.

"We're going to have to handle some adversity and handle some runs," coach Billy Donovan said before the game.

In the end, Florida couldn't.

Laurence Bowers had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Missouri erased a 13-point deficit midway through the second half to rally past No. 5 Florida 63-60 on Tuesday night.

Phil Pressey added 10 assists, seven points, six rebounds and three steals for Missouri (19-7, 8-5 SEC). The Tigers didn't have Bowers a month ago in a 31-point loss at Florida.

Mike Rosario had 14 points for Florida (21-4, 11-2) but missed a contested 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer. The Gators had won 13 of 14 and led 49-36 with 10:51 left, then hurt themselves at the free-throw line.

Florida missed five straight free throws in the second half, three times on the front end of one-and-ones. The slump ended when Rosario hit the second of two with 5:10 to go for a 54-50 lead.

The Gators made 6 of 12 free throws overall. Missouri made 12 of 15.

The Tigers improved to 15-0 at home this season. They are 30-1 the past two seasons under coach Frank Haith.

Florida trailed by a point when Kenny Boynton missed a 3 with about 8 seconds to go. Missouri's Keion Bell came up with the ball after it was tipped around and made two free throws with 3.1 seconds left.

Bowers' jumper from the key put Missouri up for good at 61-60 with 1:15 to go. Pressey's three-point play with 2:51 to go gave Missouri its first lead at 59-57. Scottie Wilbekin's 3 put Florida back up with about 11/2 minutes to go.

Pressey, whose ill-advised decisions have cost Missouri dearly on the road, didn't take a shot in the first half while getting two assists and three turnovers. He made his first shot from the wing with just more than 14 minutes to go.

Pressey is has made just 1 of 23 3-pointers on the road in conference play and 10 of 26 at home.

Two dazzling assists by Pressey, the second wrapping around a defender to set up Bowers' dunk, capped a 12-0 run that cut Florida's lead to 49-48 with 8:02 to go.

Florida, averaging an SEC-leading 10 3-pointers in conference play, made 4 of 6 in the first 7½ minutes while grabbing an 18-6 lead. The Gators made just one of their last 11 3-point attempts of the half, going scoreless the final 4:39 while Missouri ended with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 29-26.

Florida is now 0-4 in games decided by 11 points or fewer.

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