UF's Zyon Pullin crosses Missouri's Anthony Robinson during Wednesday's game at the O'Connell Center. [Lee Ann Anderson/WRUF]

No. 24 Florida Men’s Basketball Team Secures 20th Win By Defeating Missouri

The No. 24 Florida men’s basketball team sealed the deal on its 20th win of the season Wednesday by holding back the Missouri Tigers 83-74 at the O’Connell Center.

Tyrese Samuel led the Gators (20-8, 10-5 SEC) with a career-high 28 points to help the Gators toward their seventh straight home win. Four scorers for Florida were in the double figures, including offensive force Walter Clayton Jr (13 points), who fouled out with 14 minutes left of play.

How it Happened

Florida was in the lead from the start, yet winning its ninth game in the past 11 didn’t come as easily as expected against the winless-in-the-SEC team.

Samuel started out strong in the first half, scoring nine points in just the first seven minutes. He tallied 12 points at the end of the half.

Florida shot 37% from the field and 20% outside the 3-point line in the first half.

But, Florida was able to hold the Tigers (8-20, 0-15) defensively and secured the nine-point lead going into the break, 37-28.

Sealing The Deal

Out of the break, guard Zyon Pullin stepped it up and tallied 17 points of his 21 total. He also went 4-5 behind the arc. After Clayton Jr. fouled out, Pullin was able to keep the momentum going.

The Gators took an 11-point lead (their largest) in the second half with a 12-2 run that Micah Handlogten finished with a dunk. Handlogten collected his fourth double-double this season by putting up points and 12 rebounds. Florida won the rebound battled 38-27.

UF’s Micah Handlogten takes a shot under defensive pressure from Missouri’s Connor Vanover at the O’Connell Center on Wednesday.
[Lee Ann Anderson/WRUF]
With nine minutes remaining, the Tigers cut the Florida lead to 55-54. But Will Richard made his first 3-pointer to get UF rolling again. Pullin put up a 3 just a minute later to give the Gators a two possession five-point lead.

https://twitter.com/GatorsMBK/status/1763009660838408658

Florida remained with a steady lead from there to finish off the game and beat the Tigers for the second time this season. The Gators reached the 20-win mark for the first time since 2017.

“I was proud of our guys,” UF coach Todd Golden said. “Obviously Tyrese (Samuel) was a grown man tonight, he did an incredible job.”

Next Up

The Gators travel to South Carolina to face the No. 18 Gamecocks (23-5, 11-4) at noon (ESPN Gainesville 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF) Saturday.

 

About Emma Pastis

Emma Pastis is an Orlando, FL native who is a second-year journalism student at the University of Florida.

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