By Jack Knowlton
COLUMBIA – A huge bounceback win occurred for the Tigers as they defeated Florida 91-75. The Gators, who came into the game with a perfect SEC record, fell to a Mizzou squad that jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back. Their 91 points equalled the most Mizzou has scored in a single game all season.
Mizzou was in foul trouble throughout the game, with many calls disputed by the Tiger faithful. However, despite the foul trouble and calls not going their way, the Tigers stayed composed, shooting a superb 61.5% from the field and forcing the Gators into 14 turnovers. The Tigers guided themselves to a win over a team 95 places above them in the RPI rankings.
Across the board, senior Dru Smith had an excellent showing. The Evansville transfer who leads the Tigers in points, assists and steals, boosted those stats in his performance tonight. Smith finished the night with 22 points, shooting 8-12 from the field along with six assists, two boards and five steals. Coach Cuonzo Martin had high praise for Smith on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, stating “he’ll get you on your hip and he’ll make a play.”
Coach Martin continued in praising Smith saying, “He’s ready to shoot the three ball.”
Smith even received high praise from Florida head coach Mike White.
“I thought Dru Smith was fantastic. I thought he played like an elite guard, I thought he dominated both ends. He’s got tremendous toughness.”
Javon Pickett also had a great outing with 14 points, shooting 6-8 from the field to go along with four rebounds and three assists.
Coach Martin also provided some keys to the game that helped guide the Tigers to this massive victory, emphasizing toughness and simply making shots.
“That’s the biggest key,” Martin said. “Making shots, making plays, being aggressive.”
While the taste of victory against a top quality SEC opponent will be sweet, Coach Martin is gearing up for Mizzou’s next two matchups against Mississippi State and Alabama.
“Those are two good teams. We will enjoy this and I’ll start watching film in the morning,” Martin said.
Martin and the Tigers will certainly look to build on this momentum during their upcoming road trip. Mizzou returns home January 21 to face Texas A&M at 8 p.m.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org