MO State HS Sports

Men’s Basketball Rally Falls Short at No. 24 Florida

Connor Vanover

Gainesville, Fla. – University of Missouri men’s basketball cut a double-digit deficit down to a single point but in the end, No. 24 Florida prevailed for an 83-74 victory.

Graduate Sean East II (Louisville, Ky.) led the Tigers with his fourth-straight 20-point game – making 9-of-16 shots to go with four assists. Classmate Nick Honor (Orlando, Fla.) added 18 points, while junior Tamar Bates (Kansas City, Kan.) and graduate Connor Vanover (Little Rock, Ark.) also scored in double figures with 15 and 12 points, respectively.

The Gators scored the first six points of the game before East got the Tigers on the scoreboard. Florida (20-8, 10-5 SEC) then used a 12-4 run to pull in front by nine points, 22-13, with its lead bouncing between four and nine the remainder of the half. A strong finish by the hosts helped them enter halftime with their biggest advantage, 37-28.

The Tigers (8-20, 0-15 SEC) continued to fight during the second half. An early 10-2 spurt closed the gap initially to one, 39-38, only for the Gators to respond with a 12-2 stretch for their largest lead of the game, 51-40. Mizzou would have one final push in it as a 10-1 run trimmed a 10-point deficit to just a single point, 55-54. Honor scored eight of the team’s points during the stretch as MU attempted to rally against its nationally-ranked foe.

Missouri, however, would miss two open looks to take the lead and the Gators then made 11 of their next 12 field goals to secure the 83-74 win.

Mizzou finished the contest by making 48.2 percent of its field goals, while Florida connected on 49.2 percent. Both teams were strong in the second 20 minutes of play – the Tigers making 61.5 percent and the Gators hitting 62.5 percent. Florida also made eight 3-pointers to four for MU.

The Tigers return home for their final two games of the season at Mizzou Arena. MU opens its final homestand on Saturday night, hosting Ole Miss at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics