I feel like we’ve seen this game before, and I’ve written this study hall before.
The same thing we’ve spent the offseason and season talking about played out before our eyes in Gainesville like a broken record. There were your Tigers, fighting, scrapping, giving it everything they had. On the other side of the floor the Gators, equipped with enough flaws for Missouri to exploit, were able to make enough plays and enough shots to turn away the young Tigers and leave them contemplating, again, what might have been.
- We knew coming in the game was going to be a low possession game: The Gators play at an even slower pace than Missouri, so it was destined to be a bit of a lurch of a game. It lived up to the billing. In fact Missouri had its best success when they were attacking early in the shot clock and generating opportunities on the secondary break. Despite their slower pace the Gators do boast the 10th highest defensive turnover rate in the country and yet that didn’t phase the Tigers.
Florida started a lot of their defensive possessions in a 1-2-2 three-quarter court zone press. The design seemed to be to stall the Tigers offense for as long as possible and make them handle the ball as much as possible. They rarely pressured, and Mizzou handled the ball well enough to post one of their lowest turnover rates of conference play. To be honest the fact Mizzou won't he BCI battle in Gainesville is pretty amazing and impressive on it’s own.
- The problem was: They just didn’t make enough shots. Mizzou shot well enough in the first half to gain the lead but they didn’t shoot well. Their first half mark was only 42.9% from the field, but their 4-10 mark from deep while the Gators struggled to make much of anything. In the second half it was only a tick worse, but UF managed to convert on their 2FGA at a much higher rate. That was the difference.
- The raw numbers should have led to a Tigers win: More steals, blocks, assists, rebounds, made field goals, made 3FG, everything but the Free throws. Mizzou shot 13, Florida MADE 25.
Florida’s 70% FTA/FGA was 41 points higher than their season average. To give you an idea of the difference, the Gators are statistically WORST than Missouri at getting to the line. Even in the second half the Gators attempted 19 free throws, making 16. The Gators entered the bonus with 14:54 remaining on the clock, and from then on they were able to get to the line enough to generate the offense they needed to put them over the top.
Your Trifecta: Javon Pickett, Jordan Geist, Xavier Pinson
On the season: Jordan Geist 49 points, Jeremiah Tilmon 27 points, Mark Smith 25 points, Javon Pickett 19 points, Xavier Pinson 11 points, Kevin Puryear 11 points, Torrence Watson 6 points, Ronnie Suggs 3 points, Reed Nikko 2 points.
This is all sort of weird. The Game Score is usually a collection of good things and bad things combined, too many bad things and you might end up with a negative game score. The balance of players doing good and bad things on the court yesterday left a balance of everyone on the plus side of the margin! So congrats Mizzou you did it!
It’s only happened against UT-Arlington and Xavier this year.
But considering Xavier Pinson made the trifecta by fouling out, only making one shot, and having couple turnovers in 22 minutes. We’ve seen good and bad versions of Pinson and this was somewhere in the middle.
Tilmon was certainly the bad version of Jeremiah and even he was fourth. So in all it was a really strange day for the box score.
It really felt as though nobody had their best day and yet Mizzou had an amazing shot, a wide open Javon Pickett, with a chance to take the lead with just 11 seconds on the clock. The play call was a good one: Get a strong side post up from Kevin Puryear to draw the double team, as the Gators had been doing all game long. Have a weak side exchange and ball reversal after the kick-out from the double. It gave Javon Pickett an open look which would have given Missouri the lead.
But like most things this season it went just awry enough to cause the loss. This game marked Mizzou’s fourth in conference play where they held a double digit lead at some point and still lost. All but one of those games were played without Mark Smith, Jeremiah Tilmon fouled out or was missing for all but one as well.
The recipe is there it’s just hard for this team to replicate with such a small margin of error. It’s difficult to escape with a win when Tilmon fouls out (he’s fouled out of one win against a high major opponent). It’s also hard to win when Jordan Geist has a tough shooting night. The Tigers have the right mix, it’s just the mix needs to be nearly perfect for them to grab a road win against a solid opponent.
Up next is another road game against Mississippi State. It’s uncertain what will happen with Mark Smith but I wouldn’t count on seeing him in Starkville. The Bulldogs aren’t quite as good as I expected them to be but they’re still pretty tough. Yesterday they were down 30-14 against South Carolina in the first half and came back to win by 15. For Mizzou to win in Starkville they’ll need to be a whole lot better than they were against Florida.