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Florida Basketball

Instant Analysis: Gators overcome sluggish first half, beat Missouri

February 23, 2019
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Just as things were looking gloom around Florida basketball earlier in the month, the Gators have turned things around, winning their fourth straight. The Gators (16-11, 8-6) were able to overcome an abysmal first half performance to beat the Missouri Tigers (12-14, 3-11) 64-60.

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WHAT WENT RIGHT: After seemingly nothing went right in the first half, the Gators were able to change their fortunes in the second. Offensively, the Gators operated much smoother and scored efficiently. It also didn’t hurt that the Tigers were in major foul trouble early in the second. It only took five minutes in the second half for the Gators to reach the bonus and they made the most of their opportunities at the foul stripe. Florida went 25-for-30 on free throws.

WHO STOLE THE SHOW: It was another team effort for the Gators, but they were once again led by KeVaugn Allen down the stretch. Like the team, Allen struggled in the first half, not making a single field goal. It was different for Allen in the second, as he made four field goals. The senior finished with 17 points, backed by a 9-for-10 performance from the foul line. The Gators were also helped by the performance of freshman Keyontae Johnson. The high-flyer scored 13 and grabbed seven rebounds. As the season goes on, Johnson continues to progress for the Gators.

NUMBERS DON’T LIE: It was a tale of two halves in Gainesville for this one. Missouri had a comfortable lead at the half and saw their lead reach double-digits in the second. But then the Gators came storming back to steal a road win from the Tigers. The Gators second half performance was the deciding factor Saturday. Florida won the second half, outscoring the Tigers 40-to-27 in the period. Only making seven field goals in the first, the Gators drained 11 in the second half, along with 16 free throws.

BOTTOM LINE: It wasn’t pretty my any measure, but a win is a win. And at this point in the season, that’s all the Gators can ask for. After Wednesday’s big win over LSU, the last thing the Gators could afford was a let-down at home against an inferior team. They fought with fire, but the Gators were able to prevent getting burned, on their way to number 16 on the campaign.

UP NEXT: The Gators will be back on the road Wednesday, as they travel to Nashville to face the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Commodores are still searching for their first conference win of the season and the Gators need all the wins they can get. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m.

Instant Analysis: Gators overcome sluggish first half, beat Missouri

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