Campus Corner

The Star's blog on college sports, featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri

Mizzou never could put a run together as Florida rained three-pointers in SEC tourney

03/15/2014 7:00 AM

03/15/2014 2:56 PM

Right before Florida went on its back-breaking 23-4 run Friday against Missouri in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals at the Georgia Dome, senior Earnest Ross let fly a three-pointer from atop the key that might have put the Tigers in front.

Perhaps it even would have altered the game’s fortunes.

“It felt good; it looked good,” Ross said. “It just didn’t go in.”

He had opened the game with a three-pointer, but Missouri missed its remaining 12 tries from long range against the Gators, who shot a season-best 57 from long range and finished 12 of 21 from deep.

Senior Scottie Wilbekin and sophomore Michael Frazier II led the charge, going five of six and five of seven beyond the arc, respectively.

“When you’ve got a team like that and they’re so talented, you know they’re going to go on some runs,” sophomore Ryan Rosburg said. “The main thing is just to not let that turn into bigger runs and go on a run ourselves.”

The Tigers, 22-10, didn’t do either midway through the second half.

The result was a lopsided 72-49 win for No. 1 Florida, which looked much worse on paper than it truly appeared courtside.

Missouri grabbed the early lead and led by as many as four points before the turnover-prone Gators heated up from long range, splashing in three three-pointers during a 10-2 run midway through the opening half.

Still, the Tigers knotted the game at when junior Jordan Clarkson, who scored 11 but also had a season-worst six turnovers for the second straight game, broke down the defense for a slick assist to Rosburg, who flushed home the tying dunk as the halftime horn sounded.

Of course, after that, the Gators did what they’ve done all season — dominate the closing 10 minutes and pull away for, in this case, a 24th consecutive victory.

Florida did the same thing to Missouri on Feb. 4 in Gainesville, Fla., where a two-point Tigers’ lead with 9:57 remaining turned into a 68-58 loss for coach Frank Haith’s after Frazier drained three three-pointers in less than two minutes during a 16-3 game-clinching run by the Gators.

From that standpoint, the loss Friday was a case of déjà vu.

“It felt bad seeing the lead keep increasing,” Clarkson said. “We tried to keep playing, and playing hard, but we just weren’t converting on offense. They played in that zone and kind of sat on us. They closed down driving lanes and played far out, ran guys off the free-throw line and they’ve got long guys down there in the post that make you shoot tough shots.”

Missouri had answered a couple 7-0 runs and even that 10-2 burst in the first half, but the 23-4 hurricane proved too much.

“I expected us to catch a run, too, and do the same thing as well, but it never came,” Ross said.

The same might be said of the Tigers’ season in SEC play.

Many expected Missouri to pull things together at some point and surge up the standings, but it never happened, which is why Sunday is likely to bring an NIT berth instead of a school-record sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Missouri’s deep troubles

Missouri only made one of 13 three-pointers Friday in a 72-49 loss against No. 1 Florida in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, but that’s part of a wider trend of cold shooting.

In fact, during the last four games, the Tigers have been historically frigid from long range. Here are the worst four-game stretches for three-point shooting courtesy of Missouri athletics historian Tom Orf:

Dates 3PM/3PA (%) Team W-L
Feb. 2-16, 1991 3-23 (.130) 1-3
March 5-14, 2014 11-63 (.175) 2-2
March 6-12, 1987 4-21 (.190) 3-1

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