- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A quick look at No. 10 Florida’s 83-52 victory against No. 17 Missouri on Saturday afternoon at the O’Connell Center:
Overview: This was supposed to be a battle between the SEC's two best teams.
That lasted less than five minutes.
Florida rolled out to a quick start and completely dominated the Tigers. In doing so, the Gators (14-2, 4-0 SEC) have pretty much established themselves as the class of the league. Missouri (13-3, 2-2 SEC) was overwhelmed offensively and defensively, and ended up shooting a season-low 32.7 percent from the field.
Turning point: How about the game’s first 3:14. Florida raced out to an 11-0 lead during that span, and Missouri only pulled within single digits once after that. Missouri committed two turnovers and went 0-for-5 from the field while Florida went 4-for-5. The Gators scored two baskets in the game’s first minute, including a big dunk by Patric Young, and that got the crowd in the sold-out O’Connell Center into the game pretty quickly.
Key player: Wilbekin had another dominant defensive performance. Two days after shutting down Texas A&M’s Elston Turner, Wilbekin blanketed Missouri point guard Phil Pressey, holding him to two points on 1 of 7 shooting. Pressey, who had been averaging 13.8 points 9.8 assists in his previous six games, had 6 assists and 10 turnovers.
Key stat: Florida and Missouri finished with a similar amount of turnovers, but the Gators did a much better job of capitalizing on the Tigers’ mistakes. Florida scored 34 points off Missouri’s 21 turnovers. The Gators had 22 points off 11 Tigers turnovers in the first half. Missouri scored 12 points off Florida's 16 turnovers.
Miscellaneous: Coach Billy Donovan picked up his 400th victory at Florida. Only two other coaches, Adolph Rupp (876) and Dale Brown (448), have won 400 or more games at an SEC school. Donovan is 400-160 in his 17 seasons at Florida. He is 435-180 in his 19 seasons as a head coach. … Missouri was without leading scorer Laurence Bowers (16.8 ppg), who is still recovering from a sprained MCL in his right knee. He hasn’t played since the Tigers’ 84-68 victory against Alabama on Jan. 8. … Florida hasn’t allowed more than 52 points in its four SEC games. … The Tigers were the nation’s top rebounding team (43.8 per game), but the Gators out-rebounded them 35-25.
Next game: Florida plays at Georgia on Wednesday; Missouri plays host to South Carolina on Tuesday.
3dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf
9dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough