ATLANTA — Senior guard Scottie Wilbekin hit two of his five 3-pointers in a game-turning 12-0 run midway through the second half as top-ranked Florida beat Missouri 72-49 in the Southeastern Conference quarterfinals Friday at the Georgia Dome.
Florida extended its winning streak to 24 games.
The Gators (30-2) made 12 of 21 3-pointers and outscored Missouri 34-13 over the last 11 minutes, seemingly ending the NCAA Tournament hopes of the Tigers (22-11).
Wilbekin and sophomore guard Michael Frazier were a combined 10 of 13 from behind the 3-point arc, each scoring 15 points. The only other double-figure scorer for the Gators was sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith with 10 points.
Tied at halftime, Florida scored the first seven points of the second half to go up 36-29. Missouri, though, was within 38-36 before the Gators went on their blitz. That gave them a 14-point lead with seven minutes remaining and things only got worse for Missouri.
Jabari Brown, who was 10 of 12 from the foul line, led the Tigers with 18 points. Roger Clarkson, also a junior guard, scored 11.
Missouri held a 28-25 halftime lead at Florida on Feb. 4 in the teams’ only regular-season meeting, but the Gators went on a 16-3 run in the second half en route to a 68-58 victory.
Florida took its first lead 10 minutes into this game on Wilbekin’s third 3-pointer in as many tries and led by six three times before Missouri sophomore forward Ryan Rosburg dunked at the intermission buzzer for a 29-29 tie.
The Gators were six for 12 on 3-pointers in the first half, but three for 14 from inside the arc and five for 11 at the foul line.
Missouri had to go two overtimes to defeat Texas A&M 91-83 on Thursday. Brown and senior guard Ernest Ross combined for 50 points and the Tigers were 40 of 53 at the foul line against the Aggies.
NOTES: Florida took five of the six top SEC individual awards, with G Scottie Wilbekin named player of the year and Billy Donovan taking coaching honors. C Patric Young was selected as the best defensive player and scholar athlete, while F Dorian Finney-Smith was named sixth man of the year. … Gators F Casey Prather joined Wilbekin on the All-SEC first team. … Missouri G Jabari Brown also made the first team. … Florida has not won the SEC tournament since 2007, the year it won its second straight NCAA championship. The Gators lost to Ole Miss in the SEC title game last year.
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