Quick breakdown of Florida basketball’s big win over Missouri Tigers

There seems to be a pattern developing here.

A week ago, Todd Golden won his first Southeastern Conference game. Four days later, he won his first SEC road game. On a chilly Saturday, he saw his Florida Gators beat their first ranked team this season.

Florida stifled No. 20 Missouri, 73-64, to win for the third straight time and get over .500 in league play after an 0-2 start.

UF is now 10-7 and 3-2 in the league. Missouri lost its second in a row on the road and fell to 13-4 and 2-3 in the SEC.

Another pattern developing – Florida started miserably, crawled back into the game and dominated the second half. Let’s take a look at how it all broke down.

What happened

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The game was tied at the half and tight throughout, but Florida made most of its free throws down the stretch (despite two misses by [autotag]Colin Castleton[/autotag]) to pull away.

Maybe the biggest free throws were the two made by [autotag]Will Richard[/autotag] late on a 1-and-1 to extend Florida’s lead to 10 points. After Castleton’s misses, Missouri cut the lead to six, but [autotag]Kyle Lofton[/autotag]’s fallaway 17-foot jumper was huge for Florida with 51.3 seconds to play.

[autotag]Myreon Jones[/autotag], who has gone from liability to asset in the last three weeks, made two free throws with 37.5 seconds to play as well to finish it.

Florida had another start that looked as if the Gators had tryptophan milkshakes with their pregame meal. Mizzou was able to get off to an 11-0 start to the game as Florida committed four turnovers. The Gators didn’t score until [autotag]Kowacie Reeves[/autotag] hit a shot with 15 minutes to go in the half.

But the Gators used three-point shooting to get back into the game and eventually took a 26-25 lead. Despite 14 UF turnovers, the game was tied in part because the Tigers were 1-for-9 from beyond the arc.

[autotag]Colin Castleton[/autotag], who scored 16 points, became the second transfer in Florida history to pass the 1,000-point mark. The other was [autotag]Dorian Finney-Smith[/autotag].

What it means

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Missouri is struggling a bit with three losses in the last four games, so we will see if this can turn into a Quad 1 win. Mizzou came in at 44 to Florida’s 54.

But the key is that the team seems to be identifying itself, even if the starts of the games have been awful. This was another important win for a team trying to claw back from a bad start to the season. Hey, that sounds familiar.

Player of the Game: Missouri

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s another pattern to talk about. Florida has struggled with great players in each of its last three games, all victories. But the Gators have made that player work hard for his points. This time, it was Kobe Brown, who had 21 points. He needed 18 shots and six free-throw attempts to get there.

Player of the Game: Florida

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OK, we can’t do Castleton for every game. So, let’s go with Will Richard, who has had an up-and-down season but led Florida with 18 points Saturday. The Belmont transfer made 4-for-8 from three-point range and all six of his free throw attempts. Interestingly, he was averaging only 7.3 points a game in SEC encounters before the game.

Inside the numbers

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The team that can’t shoot straight did not start well, but the Gators finished the game making 10 of 23. On the other hand, Missouri went 3-for-18. So, Florida had an advantage of 21 points from beyond the arc. That’s how you overcome 19 turnovers.

He said it

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

“Our guys have not cracked, have not faltered despite starting 0-2 in the conference. They have stayed the course and they are reaping the benefits. We were tied at the half tied with 14 turnovers. Our message to the team was, ‘If we take care of the ball we’ll be fine.'” — Todd Golden.

Next up

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The Gators will be playing their sixth SEC game of the season and second against Texas A&M on Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST on the SEC Network. The Aggies beat the Gators in Gainesville 66-63 on Jan. 4 with a swarming defensive effort.

A win in College Station could be a Quad 1 because A&M is 72nd currently (road wins vs. top 75 are Quad 1s) heading into tonight’s game against South Carolina. The Aggies enter that game with an 11-5 record and are 3-0 in the conference.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire