A big reason why Mizzou was able to pull off the victory was the play of Senior Forward Laurence Bowers. It appears Bowers regained his confidence in leading the Tigers with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 2 steals, a stat line Mizzou fans have been accustomed to reading.
I know deep down inside Bowers was saying to himself, "my team missed me the first game, I need to make up for it tonight," and boy he did.
It was Bowers' trademark midrange jumper that swished through the net, giving Mizzou the lead for good at 61-60 with 1:15 remaining in the game.
Florida then went ice cold from the three point line in the second half and Keion Bell sealed the deal by knocking down two free throws with 3.1 seconds left to put Mizzou up 63-60.
Florida had one last crack at it, but Mike Rosario missed a three pointer to end Florida’s hope of overtime and then the celebration at Mizzou Arena began.
Mizzou won the battle on the boards as usual by outrebounding the Gators 40-28.
One concern for the Tigers were the 19 turnovers Mizzou committed, but the team was able to overcome the mistakes.
Phil Pressey, for the most part, played a controlled game, finishing with 10 assists, but did have 5 turnovers. Pressey almost cost the Tigers the game once again by rushing a three pointer in the final minute, which gave Florida one last failed opportunity to retake the lead.
Missouri fought hard throughout the whole game and found a way to win a close, meaningful game. The effort versus Florida will speak large and give the Tigers confidence for the remainder of the season.
Mizzou could go undefeated to close out the season, but let’s not get carried away just yet. Missouri’s next game is on the road at Kentucky.
I’m very curious to see how Missouri responds. In the meantime, Mizzou nation gets three full days to enjoy this win versus No. 5 Florida.
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