Men’s basketball snaps thirteen-game losing streak

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By Matt Vereen, 23 Sports

Tuesday, Feb. 24 –

With sophomore Wes Clark still out with an elbow injury, Missouri freshman guard Namon Wright filled the gap and stole the show, as he led the Missouri men’s basketball team to a 64-52 win over the Florida Gators on Tuesday night.

Wright led the Tigers as he shot 10 for 13 for a career high 28 points in the game. No one else on the team even scored double-digits. Florida meanwhile struggled from both behind the arc, where they missed their first seven attempts, and from behind the foul line, shooting an appalling nine for 23.

Wright would get the Tigers going early as he made his first three shots for 7 points to put Missouri up 10-7 after five minutes. The Tigers would continue the great start thanks to a 7-1 run capped off by a three from Montaque Gill-Caesar to put themselves up 17-11.

Three straight misses from Missouri, however, would allow Florida to close the gap to just three points.

A dunk from Missouri’s Jakeenan Gant looked like it might fire-up the Tigers once more, but Jon Horford drained the first three for Florida with 9 minutes left after a dreadful 0-7 start from behind the arc to bring the Gators within just two.

A layup from Florida’s Alex Murphy tied the game up at 21 with five minutes left in the half.

The lead would bounce back and forth after that as Missouri’s Wright would sink a three-pointer to put the Tigers back ahead, but a Florida’s Devin Robinson would put the Gators back in front as he followed up a layup with a powerful dunk over Missouri’s Keanu Post to take a 25-24 lead.

After a free throw from Missouri’s Johnathan Williams III, Robinson knocked down a three-pointer to put Florida up by three points with one minute left. Horford would make another three for Florida, but Missouri’s Wright would hit a three-pointer of his own at the end of the half to send the Tigers to the locker room down 31-27.

Wright picked up where he left in the second half, as he drained another three to start the half, but a Florida free throw and another three-pointer from Robinson maintained the Gators lead.

Wright didn’t slow down, however, as he would put up five more points including his fourth three-pointer of the game as Missouri jumped back ahead 37-35.

Wright was fouled on his next three-point attempt and would knock down two of the three free throws to put the Tigers in front. Florida would respond with a 9-0 run including a three from Alex Murphy to give the Gators a seven-point lead.

Post would end the streak behind a two-point jumper with 12 minutes left, scoring Missouri’s first points in eight minutes by someone other than Wright and bringing the score to 44-39.

After two Gator free throws, Florida switched Chiozza to cover Wright on defense in hopes to slow down the Freshman guard, but Wright still found a way to knock down another three from the corner to bring the Tigers within three points. Gill-Caesar would get in on the action as well as he put up four straight on his own to give Missouri the 46-45 lead.

Gant would then fire up the Missouri crowd as he blocked a Gator shot and then ran down the court to finish off lob from Keith Shamburger with an electrifying dunk to cap off a 9-0 Missouri run. Florida tried to stop the bleeding behind jumper from Chris Walker, but Missouri continue to power ahead behind a second 9-0 run including yet another three from Wright as the Tigers took a 57-47 lead with two minutes left in the game.

Missouri would maintain their lead through the last minutes of the game as they capped off the performance and earned a 64-52 victory.

With the win, the Tigers snapped the longest losing streak in school history and improved their record to 8-20 overall and 2-13 in the SEC. Meanwhile, Florida continues its disappointing season with the loss as they fall to 13-15 overall and 6-9 in the SEC.

Missouri will be back in action on Saturday, as they travel to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in Stegeman Coliseum. The game will tip-off at 11 a.m. and be broadcast on ESPNU.