BY: John Mamola
A special night in Gainesville for freshman forward Chris Walker as he made his Florida Gators debut in a 68-58 win over Missouri. Walker who sat out 12 games, or 40 percent of the season, because the NCAA determined he received preferential treatment made his debut in style with a pair of alley opp dunks in his limited minutes of action.
The Gators attempt for a record 28th straight win at the O’Dome was not an easy affair against a Mizzou squad who came into the game 2-2 in conference play and playing their second straight road game against a ranked opponent. The Tigers deflected the noise of the hometown crowd in Gainesville led by junior guard Jabari Brown holding a high scoring Gators squad to only 25 points in the first half alone. The Gators were ice cold from three point range in the first half only converting one of eleven shots.
The Gators would get things going in the second half on the hot shooting from behind the arc by Michael Frazier III and the inside game of Patric Young. Young using his size and quickness in the paint scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half as the Gators pulled away late leading by as much as eleven. Casey Prather, the Gators leading scorer who has been bothered by an ankle injury, was held in check only finishing with a season low five points.
Scottie Wilbekin led the Gators with 19 points including a 13/16 night from the charity stripe. Michael Frazier finished with 14 points and 3 rebounds. The Gators held the high scoring attack of Mizzou to a season low 58 points.
With the win the Gators celebrate their sixteenth straight season with at least twenty wins in a season. Florida will look for win number 21 on Saturday afternoon when they host Alabama at the O’Dome. You can catch all the action on WDAE beginning at 11:25am with the pregame and a high noon tipoff.