GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 3 Florida remained undefeated in SEC play with a 68-58 win over Missouri on Tuesday night. Guard Scottie Wilbekin led the Gators (20-2, 9-0 SEC) with 19 points, while guard Michael Frazier II added 14. Florida trailed midway through the second half, but it shut down the Tigers with defense at the end. Missouri guard Jabari Brown, the SEC's top scorer, had just 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Guard Jordan Clarkson had 14 points for the Tigers (16-6, 4-5). Center Patric Young, who had 13 points, hit a short hook to put the Gators up 37-35 with 14:55 to play in the game. That was the Gators' first lead since they held a 12-11 advantage at the 10:40 mark in the opening half. Forward Will Yeguete matched Florida's biggest lead by following Young's basket with a pair of foul shots. But Brown quickly made that margin evaporate with a pair of 3-point baskets. A Clarkson basket gave Missouri a 45-43 lead with 9:58 left, but Florida took command after that. Frazier hit a big 3-pointer to put Florida up 48-45. A second Frazier 3-pointer gave Florida its largest lead at that point, 51-45, with less than eight minutes to play. Frazier made it three straight after a Tigers 3-pointer by Wes Clark. Guard Kasey Hill hit a couple of free throws to increase the lead to eight points, and Young made a bucket in the lane to give Florida a 58-48 lead with 4:06 remaining. Wilbekin hit four clutch free throws down the stretch to keep the Tigers from making a closer game. Missouri had quieted the sold-out crowd with several short runs early in the game. The Tigers led 11-8 after a 3-point basket by guard Wes Clark with just 13 minutes to go. Wilbekin hit a 3-pointer to put the Gators back on top but Missouri scored five straight. The Gators tied it back at 16 on a bucket off a rebound of Frazier's own miss. The Tigers build the lead back to 23-18 down the stretch. Forward Chris Walker tied it back up at 23 and 25 on highlight dunks off lobs that brought roars from the crowd. But Brown hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to put the Tigers up 28-25 at the break. Florida had a miserable first half shooting the ball, making just one of 11 attempts behind the arc and, aside from Walker's two dunks, had just seven field goals. Brown had just five in the opening half. NOTES: About the most exciting thing for the Gators in the first half was the first appearance of F Chris Walker in a college game. Fans had been waiting for months for Walker to get NCAA clearance, finally enrolling in school in December and becoming eligible for Tuesday's game for the first time. The 6-foot-10 McDonald's All-American, one of the main reasons 19 NBA scouts attended the contest, was greeted to a standing ovation when he came out for pregame warm ups an hour before the game. The crowd roared in anticipation of him coming into the contest for the first time following at time out at 11:28 in the first half. ... Mizzou's first five losses this season were by a combined 21 points. ... Florida trailed Tuesday for the first time since its last loss Dec. 2 at Connecticut.
- Sports & Recreation