Gainesville, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Scottie Wilbekin led all scorers with 19 points in No. 3 Florida's 68-58 victory over Missouri on Tuesday from O'Connell Center.
Wilbekin made just two field goals but hit 13-of-16 from the charity stripe to help Florida (20-2, 9-0 SEC) to its 14th straight win. Michael Frazier II netted 12 of his 14 points in the second half, and Patric Young notched 13 in the triumph.
Florida got a boost from freshman big man Chris Walker, who finally made his debut after academic issues and a suspension for receiving impermissible benefits kept him out of the first 21 games. Walker threw down a pair of alley-oops to go with two rebounds and two blocks in his first collegiate action.
"I'm happy for him that he can now put on a uniform and go out there and play and that all of this stuff is behind him," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said of Walker.
Missouri's (16-6, 4-5) dynamic backcourt of Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, with Brown also contributing six assists in the Tigers' second straight loss.
"They made shots and we didn't. That's pretty much it," Brown said. "I don't know what else to say about it. We got some good looks, but we didn't make the shots."
The first half featured seven ties and four lead changes, with neither team claiming a lead of more than five. Walker's second alley-oop stuff tied the score at 25-apiece with six seconds to play, but Florida failed to get back on defense and Brown drilled a deep 3-pointer as time expired.
Missouri limited the Gators to 1-of-11 from the arc in the first half and led 28-25 at intermission.
The Tigers overcame a 7-0 Florida run early in the second half and went back in front on Clarkson's jumper at 9:57, but Wilbekin knotted it back up at 45-45 with a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession.
Frazier then went on a personal 6-0 run with a pair of triples and after Wes Clark's 3 made it 51-48, Frazier potted another to the delight from distance to the delight of the home crowd.
Young scored five in a row around a Clarkson layup to make it 61-50 with 2:43 to play, and the result was never in doubt the rest of the way.
Florida's 20-2 start matches its best start over 22 games in program history. The Gators also started 20-2 in both 2006 and 2007 and went on to win the National Championship both years ... The Gators host Alabama on Saturday ... Missouri did not have any blocks ... The Tigers look to end their slide when they visit Ole Miss on Saturday