Gator men’s basketball (10-7, 3-2) upsets the 20th ranked Missouri Tigers (13-4, 2-3) at home on Saturday, winning 73-64. This win pushes the Gator’s win streak to three, and its their third straight SEC win.
Castleton Steals the Show Again for the Gators
The star center for the Gators came up huge for his team once again. Although Colin Castleton would have a relatively quiet first half, he upped his game in the second. Castleton finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. And of his 16 points overall, 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and one block came in the second half.
Also, Colin Castleton hit a special milestone in this game. Castleton eclipsed the 1,000 point mark as a Gator against the Tigers on Saturday.
Castleton had some laughs after the game when reflecting on his career to this point, but is focused on the wins not the stats.
Furthermore, Gator head coach Todd Golden had nothing but positive words for his starting center.
Gators Continue to be Second Half Heroes
As per usual, the Gators struggled to begin the first half. They found themselves down 11-0 against the Tigers within the first five minutes. They slowly clawed their way back into the game as the half went on though. And even though they trailed for most of the half, Florida finally took the lead as they approached the final three minutes of the half. A 3-point basket from Kyle Lofton saw them take a 26-25 lead over Missouri late in the first. However, Florida and Missouri would be knotted up at 28 apiece by the end of the first half.
One negative aspect from this first 20 minutes would be the amount of turnovers the Gator offense had. The 14 turnovers committed contributed to a lack of momentum and rhythm for the Gators in the first half.
The second half provided much more excitement for the fans in attendance. It would be a back-and-forth affair between the two until the end in which the Gators were able to pull away for the victory. For the first 10 minutes of the second half, both teams traded baskets and the lead for either team did not extend past three. They were trading blow-for-blow until around the nine-minute mark. Here, Florida took the lead and never looked back. They kept the Tigers at an arms length for the rest of the game. And despite the Tigers bringing the game to within six with one minute left, Kyle Lofton hit a step-back mid-range jumper that would effectively put the game to bed before Missouri had to start the fouling late in the contest.
In the end, the Florida Gators took down Missouri Tigers 73-64 on their home court. Colin Castleton and Will Richard had positive second halves that saw them both end in double-digits in the scoring department. For Richard, it was a solid night with 18 points. Additionally, freshman Riley Kugel gave head coach Todd Golden another impactful performance off the bench, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds as well.
Golden talked on his team’s performance after the final whistle.
Looking Ahead on the Schedule
The Florida Gators will travel to College Station on Wednesday to face off against the Texas A&M Aggies at 7 PM. After that, they will venture over to Starkville to take on the Mississippi Bulldogs.