COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri senior forward Alex Oriakhi could crack a smile after the Tigers pulled off a 13-point second-half comeback to upset No. 5 Florida 63-60 at Mizzou Arena.
"Down 13, we could have given up," Oriakhi said. "This gives us confidence, knowing that we can beat the best team in the SEC and one of the best teams in the country."
The Tigers (19-7, 8-5 SEC) rebounded from a heartbreaking 73-71 loss at Arkansas to improve to 3-4 in games decided by five points or less. Missouri senior forward Laurence Bowers hit a 12-foot jumper to put the Tigers ahead 61-60 with 1:10 left. Then, after a miss by Florida guard Kenny Boynton, Missouri guard Keion Bell hit two free throws with 3.1 seconds left to finish off the game.
Missouri improved to 15-0 at home and avenged a 31-point loss to Florida in Gainesville a month ago. Bowers, who didn't play in the first Florida game, led the Tigers with 17 points. Jabari Brown added 14 points for Missouri and Earnest Ross scored 11 points off the bench.
Florida (21-4, 11-2 SEC) dropped to 0-2 this season in games decided by five points or fewer. Coach Billy Donovan wasn't happy with Boynton's off-balanced 3-point attempt.
"That was not what I wanted," Donovan said. "We would have liked to have had some action inside, a drive to the basket."
Boynton said he felt like he had a good look at the basket.
"I made a shimmy move and thought I had created some space," Boynton said. "The shot just didn't fall."
Mike Rosario led the Gators with 14 points. Boynton added 11 points, and freshman reserve Michael Frazier II scored 10 points. The Gators also were done in by poor free-throw shooting. Florida went 6 of 12 from the free-throw line. Patric Young missed two front-ends of one-and-one free-throw attempts in the final 10 minutes, and Scottie Wilbekin also missed the front end of a one-and-one.
But Donovan refused to blame free-throw shooting as UF's sole problem. The Gators were outscored 27-11 in the final 12:25.
"We had no presence in and around the basket," Donovan said. "And our defensive intensity wasn't where it needed to be."
Florida got off to a strong start, making four of its first six 3-point attempts to build an early 16-6 lead on a 3-pointer from freshman Michael Frazier. A Casey Prather steal and dunk extended the Gators' lead to 20-9, but Missouri answered with a 5-0 run, cutting the deficit to 20-14 on a three-point play from senior forward Laurence Bowers.
While Missouri was doing damage inside, Florida was more than capable from outside. A 3-pointer from Boynton, Florida's fifth of the first half, put the Gators up 25-16. The visitors went up 29-18 on two free throws from Frazier, but Missouri closed the half with an 8-0 run.
Brown started the run with a deep 3-pointer, then Bowers made an inside layup. With 1:03 left, Bell followed with a steal and breakaway layup to cut Florida's lead to 29-26 at halftime.
The Gators played the final 3:56 of the half without Young after he picked up his second foul of the game. Young was held scoreless in the first half.
Florida missed its last seven 3-point attempts before intermission, finishing the first half shooting 37.9 percent from the floor and 27.9 percent (5-for-17) from 3-point range.
Missouri shot 42.3 percent from the floor in the first half but had 12 turnovers.
The Tigers outscored the Gators 14-6 in the paint in the first half, but Florida outscored Missouri 15-6 from the 3-point arc.
NOTES: Florida junior forward Will Yeguete made the trip and took part in light pregame workouts. Yeguete underwent surgery on Feb. 8 to remove bone chips in his knee. He is expected to be re-evaluated at the end of the regular season; ... The Gators played their first-ever game at Missouri.