Fastbreak: SEC-worst Missouri embarrasses Florida 64-52 in Columbia

By Adam Silverstein
February 24, 2015

If the Florida Gators on the roster Tuesday had any respect for head coach Billy Donovan, they certainly did not show it. Florida (13-15, 6-9 SEC) was embarrassed once again this season as the worst team in the Southeastern Conference, losers of 13-straight games, upended the Gators 64-52.

The Missouri Tigers (8-20, 2-13 SEC) dominated the visitors over the latter 20 minutes of Tuesday’s contest, outscoring Florida 37-21 in the second half while ending the game on a 24-5 run at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri.

Donovan had no choice but to sit back and watch as his team struggled on both ends of the court, combining poor shooting in every facet of the game with lacking effort on defense and terrible decision making throughout the contest.

“We really made a lot of, really a lot of poor choices, things that — to be quite honest — left me scratching my head,” Donovan said. “We had Kasey Hill reaching across the out of bounds line for a technical foul, an Eli Carter foul before the ball ever came in bounds while the game was obviously in reach, a Devin Robinson foul. Our fouling enabled them to get to the free throw line. With 13 minutes to go we’re in the bonus and we never really could take advantage of it. For us, we got to the free throw line 23 times, which is drastically more than we normally go, but certainly hard to win when you go 9-for-23. Even when we did get there, we weren’t able to capitalize. We just didn’t make enough smart basketball plays in the game.” breaks down Tuesday’s action with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: Missouri guard Namon Wright bombed in a three-pointer with 4:16 remaining, pushing the hosts ahead by six and putting Florida in a deficit that it was unable to overcome. Wright, who averaged 5.4 points on 32 percent shooting entering Tuesday’s game, scored a career-high 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting, hitting 6-of-8 treys. The Tigers only increased their lead from there. “We didn’t really have anybody [who could cover him],” Donovan said. “Give him credit. He really got it going, shot the ball very well. Tonight, he was a hard match-up for us. We really didn’t have anybody who could stop him.”

Significant stretches: The second half began with Wright scoring 10-straight points and going on a personal 7-0 run to give Mizzou the lead back at 37-35 with 16:17 to play. Florida responded immediately with a trey from redshirt junior forward Alex Murphy to kick off a 9-0 stretch that gave the Gators a team-high seven-point lead. Missouri answered right back with an 11-1 run to go up three as UF went 7:02 without a field goal and 5:10 without a point.

“I thought we were in good shape. I think it was a seven-point game when for us things started to change,” Donovan explained. “Out of nowhere, Chris Walker decides he’s a three-point shooter, you know? Is that shot for you or is that shot because it really helps our team win? Really a lot of poor choices by our guys.”

Prominent player: Wright was obviously the player of the game, but it was redshirt senior center Jon Horford who was most effecitve for the Gators, scoring 10 points and grabbing a team-high eight boards. Horford was relatively quiet in the second half of the contest, however, which coupled with his team’s poor shooting led to UF fumbling over the latter stages of the game.

First half focus: Mizzou opened up leading 14-8 on the back of an 8-0 run and four-straight missed field goals by UF. The Gators were able to tie things up at 21 on an 8-2 spurt during the latter part of the first half only to go on a 3:23 scoreless drought as the Tigers jumped ahead by three. Seven-straight points by freshman forward Devin Robinson, highlighted by a cock-back jam and three, along with a trey Horford allowed the visitors to take a 31-27 lead into the break.

Perfect play: Robinson’s cock-back jam, one of Florida’s top highlights of the year, was part of his personal 7-0 scoring stretch and will most likely be a top play in highlight packages Tuesday evening.

Standout stat: The Gators were a pitiful 9-of-23 from the charity stripe and unable to take advantage of the Tigers’ foul trouble despite Mizzou putting Florida in the bonus and double bonus for most of the second half. Sophomore point guard Kasey Hill was particularly bad with an 1-for-7 mark, though everyone except redshirt senior walk-on F Jacob Kurtz (5-of-7) combined to go 4-for-16. “It’s hard when your point guard goes 1-for-8 from the free throw line — that’s not good — and he’s 2-for-7 from the field. We didn’t get necessarily great play from him, obviously,” Donovan admitted.

What it means: UF lost to the worst team in the SEC as Missouri was on a 13-game losing streak entering Tuesday’s game. Donovan was unable to pick up win No. 500 in what was likely the last time he would be favored entering a game this season. The Gators scored 16 points in the second half.

Next up: Florida hosts Tennessee on Saturday.

Everything else: Redshirt junior guard Eli Carter went 1-for-7 from the field and 0-for-4 from three; he’s now on a 7-for-30 stretch over the last three games, hitting just 2-of-17 treys … Florida scored 21 points in the second half and was outscored by 10 points at the charity stripe


  1. joey says:

    Horrible!! Just plain horrible!!!

  2. Frank says:

    Adam- My guess is, with a talented freshmen class coming in, along with Francis and Egbunu getting to play among others, Gators basketball will likely look very different next season. Good thing because tonight was the lowpoint in a very difficult season. Could you speak to what you believe are the reasons for this year’s struggles. Thanks

  3. Frank says:

    I did read the Gameday piece and Billy’s comments, but I think he was being nice and trying not to run his guys down. I’d like some Straightforward Silverstein.

  4. SW Fl Joe says:

    The first sentence says it all, Billy has lost the locker room. There is no post season so it is time to start benching starters and let some of the others play

    • Ken (CA) says:

      This isn’t football with a 95 man roster. Exactly who do you think isn’t getting the minutes they deserve? Walker? Came in gave 3 turnovers, 2 fouls and 2 points or so in the first 5 minutes he was in?

  5. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Wow, how ironic that if these kids manage to win one of the handful of games remaining this year, the worst team in the past 17 years will give Coach his 500th career win….but then again, what are the odds?!?!

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. Unless they really don’t have any self-respect anymore, somewhere they will win 1 more game and what a depressing 500th win it will be.

      this isn’t “one of the worst” This is “the worst” team Donovan has ever had to deal with. The really sad thing about it, is that it isn’t for lack of talent. He just can’t seem to get these kids to care and to want to win, for whatever reason. They just don’t seem to have a mind set of winning, and each time they lose, they will expect to lose more and more.

  6. Gator Miami says:

    Robinson has shown some really nice flashes of brilliance. Kudos to him.

  7. Gatoralum88 says:

    Yes, embarrassing is accurate, but so is pathetic, pitiful, & a new low! OF COURSE they were going to lose last night! Why would we expect anything different from this sorry bunch! They are terrible! Last night, Hill was especially terrible! Near the end I would have rather seen the kid with one arm playing than him. Seriously! 1 of 8 free throws?…I can at least match that with a blindfold on! Playing “hack-a-Hill” would be a really good strategy for any opponent the Gators lead late (rare these days) if he’s in the game. Seriously!

    I don’t even think the future looks bright with these returning players. Hill & Walker? 5 stars? McDonald’s AA’s? I doubt a little kid would trade a happy meal for BOTH of them. They are, without a doubt, the two most overrated 5* scrubs I’ve ever seen. I doubt either will get much more than a cup of NBA coffee. For Hill, where does one begin? Can we expect summer workouts will improve his offense?…or his defense?…or his ability to avoid turnovers?…or (worst of all) his FT shooting? Will he even learn the friggin rules? (hitting a ball while a player is inbounding? Billy’s right! Unbelievable!). For Walker, I’m completely over him. He can leave if he’d like to & I won’t consider it much of a loss. Robinson is the only player I see improving. It’s unfortunate Frazier has been hurt. If he were healthy I’d want him to shoot EVERY shot. At least, we can hope Igbunu will be a defensive upgrade over horrible Horford…which brings me to my next point…

    For the most part, the transfers have been major busts…All-Dolly Parton first-team members! Horford’s 10 points last night was his first double-digit scoring night since mid-December against JU. He’s so bad defensively I really think he could have a future as a bull-fighter somewhere if he can master saying “Olé”…his time as a Gator can’t end soon enough for me…which is the same way I feel about this “similar to 2013 football” type season.

  8. g8ter27 says:

    I hope they all turn pro after the season. Makes for a great feel good story, but when the ball boy becomes a starter at UF after 3 straight Elite 8 appearances………….

    • Michael Jones says:

      Yeah. that’s got to be it. Never mind that he was never a “ball boy” and never mind that he played significant minutes for last year’s Final Four team.

      Of all the things that are wrong with this team, the fact that Kurtz plays isn’t one of them. He could be a contributor for most programs in the country. One of the glaring problems with this team, like most Gator teams, is that–unlike Kurtz who actually understands the game–they have a low basketball IQ.

      Basketball is a thinking man’s game. That’s why well-coached teams beat more athletic teams and why the basketball being played on the playgrounds these days is the opposite of winning basketball.

      Taking your frustrations out on Kurtz is bush league. It’s the 4 and 5 stars who are stinking up the joint, not Kurtz.

      • sean kidd says:

        No MJ I am not taking it out on Kurtz, he can’t help who he is and he is a great story for kids around the country who are not rated 4 or 5 stars. Yes, those 5 stars are the main reason for poor play but having Kurtz, Murphy and Horford (the latter two which transferred because they were likely unhappy with their playing time….and weren’t playing much for a reason)as guys who we rely on to be major contributors is a problem. I think many fans wonder how we got to that. And your definition of “significant” is different than mine regarding Kurt’s playing time last year.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          Yea, I had to laugh at the “significant PT” comment myself. How we got here? Devon Walker injured, MF2 injured, Brandone Francis ineligible, DFS suspended, Harris Transferred, Graham Transferred.

          That by itself is a pretty good team in itself for most schools. Good guards, good inside presence with Harris, good post presence with walker. We are missing it all.

  9. Marc says:

    The sense I get from Billy is sort of analogous to a baseball manager whose relief pitcher comes in with a lead and completely blows the game wide open. Instead of going to the bullpen and sending the pitcher to the showers, the manager instead says, “you got yourself into this mess, so now you have to get yourself out of it.” Otherwise, Kasey Hill should have been benched immediately after swatting the ball from the inbounder and Walker should have been taken out after attempting a 3-pointer. The problem with this team is that they don’t seem to be learning from any of these experiences.

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