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Gators blast Missouri for Donovan's 400th win
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Erik Murphy scored 15 points and pulled down five rebounds, while Scottie Wilbekin added 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and dished out 10 assists for his first career double-double, as No. 10 Florida defeated 17th-ranked Missouri, 83-52, in a battle of SEC ranked teams and in the first-ever meeting between both schools.
Kenny Boynton and Will Yeguete registered 14 and 13 points, respectively, for the Gators (14-2, 4-0 SEC), who shot 59.3 percent from the floor and have now won six straight games.
The victory was also head coach Billy Donovan's 400th of his Florida coaching career.
Jabari Brown scored 16 points and hit four 3-pointers for the Tigers (13-4, 2-2), who were without leading scorer and rebounder Laurence Bowers, who is nursing a sprained MCL in his right knee. Keion Bell donated 14 points in the loss.
The Gators jumped out to an early 11-0 lead just over three minutes into the first half, while Missouri didn't find the scoreboard until Phil Pressey nailed a corner jumper at the 16:38 mark.
Florida continued its first half dominance with a balanced offensive attack and stout defense. After Bell's three-point play with 9:27 left made it as close as 24-10, the Gators continued the pressure. Murphy and Michael Frazier II made consecutive 3-pointers to make it 35-13 with 5:20 remaining.
Missouri turned the ball over 12 times in the first half resulting in 22 of Florida's 40 points and managed just 23 points on 8-of-24 shooting from the floor.
"Florida played tougher than us this game," Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "They made all of the key hustle plays and out-rebounded us on both sides of the court. We can't win on the road if we don't play tough."
Florida kept its foot on the gas pedal in the second half, increasing the lead to 24, 54-30, just five minutes in, after Murphy made his second and third 3- pointers of the contest.
Florida's margin hovered around 20 points for most of the half, until a Young highlight dunk with 7:16 remaining made it 67-45. A Boynton trey and back-to- back fastbreak buckets opened things up even more and the Gators cruised to victory from there.
"It's a long game," Donovan said. "I think anytime it's the start of the game or the start to the second half you always want to get off to a good start. We played pretty well. We had some moments; every game is not going to be perfect."
Donovan became just the third coach in Southeastern Conference history to rack up 400 career wins with the same school joining the ranks of LSU's Dale Brown and Kentucky's Adolph Rupp.
"All those individual things, as it relates to coaching, are much, much more of a reflection on the players I have had the chance to coach here," Donovan said. "That is really what it is about. For me to be here, and to be a part of 400 wins -- I don't look at them as my wins, I look at them as University of Florida wins."
Mike Rosario and Patric Young both finished with nine points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field. Young chipped in eight boards as well. The Gators scored 34 points off of 21 Missouri turnovers and scored 48 points in the paint.
The Gators are 8-0 at home this season, while the Tigers are 0-3 in true road games ... Through 17 seasons at Florida, Donovan has lost 160 total games ... Florida has held 12 opponents to under 60 points this season ... The Gators came into the game ranked third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 51.7 points per contest ... The Tigers shot 32.7 percent from the floor.
01/19 19:23:03 ET
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