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Colleges

Walker debuts, Gators roll on


Published:   |   Updated: February 5, 2014 at 12:23 AM

GAINESVILLE — Third-ranked Florida held Missouri scoreless for more than six minutes after falling behind midway through the second half, and the Gators increased their program-record home-court winning streak to 28 with a 68-58 victory against Missouri on Tuesday night.

Moreover, the Gators set a program record with their 13th straight Southeastern Conference home win.

Chris Walker made his debut for Florida, had a couple of clutch early baskets and finished with four points.

Florida (20-2, 9-0 SEC) also secured its 16th straight 20-win season.

Missouri (16-6, 4-5) lost after leading at the half for the first time this season (11-0 before Tuesday).

The Gators trailed 45-43 with 9:58 remaining when former Plant High standout Michael Frazier hit three straight 3-point baskets. Kasey Hill had two foul shots and Patric Young got a bucket inside to make it 58-48 with 3:55 to play.

From there, Florida got some clutch baskets and the defense kept the Tigers frustrated and unable to come back.

Scottie Wilbekin finished with a career-high 19 points to lead Florida, while Frazier had 14 and Young finished with 13.

Jabari Brown, the SEC’s leading scorer with a 20.4 average, was held to 15 for Missouri on 5-for-17 shooting. Jordan Clarkson, averaging almost 19 coming into the contest, had 14.

Florida’s first half included two highlight dunks by Walker on lobs from Hill — the two McDonald’s All-American recruits, former AAU teammates and freshmen playing together on the collegiate level for the first time.

Walker sat out the first semester because of academic shortcomings, finally enrolled in school in December but did not get NCAA clearance to play until recently because of impermissible benefits.

The sellout crowd roared virtually every time Walker came on the court, the volume increasing with the two dunks. Still, UF trailed at halftime for the first time since losing at UConn on Dec. 2.

MISSOURI (16-6) — Williams, III 2-3 2-4 6, Rosburg 4-5 0-2 8, Clarkson 5-14 2-2 14, Brown 5-13 2-2 15, Ross 1-8 0-0 3, Clark 2-6 0-0 6, Criswell 0-1 2-2 2, Haith 0-0 0-0 0, Rector 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 21-53 8-12 58.

FLORIDA (20-2) — Yeguete 2-3 2-2 6, Prather 2-4 1-2 5, Young 5-9 3-4 13, Wilbekin 2-5 13-16 19, Frazier II 5-12 0-0 14, Hill 0-0 4-6 4, Finney-Smith 1-6 1-3 3, C. Walker 2-2 0-0 4, D. Walker 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 19-43 24-33 68.

Halftime—Missouri 28-25. 3-Point Goals—Missouri 8-21 (Brown 3-7, Clark 2-4, Clarkson 2-5, Ross 1-5), Florida 6-20 (Frazier II 4-11, Wilbekin 2-5, D. Walker 0-2, Finney-Smith 0-2). Fouled Out—Criswell. Rebounds—Missouri 32 (Rosburg 7), Florida 33 (Finney-Smith 7). Assists—Missouri 10 (Brown 6), Florida 15 (Hill 6). Total Fouls—Missouri 26, Florida 16. A—12,123.

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