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Columbia Missourian

Missouri men's basketball upsets No. 5 Florida

By Justin Yang
February 19, 2013 | 10:31 p.m. CST
The Missouri men's basketball team came back to beat No. 5 Florida on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena.

COLUMBIA — With 3:44 left in the game, Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith called a timeout. The Tigers were down 56-53.

Florida guard Kenny Boynton had just made a shot while being fouled.

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The Missouri players were telling each other to believe in each other and that they could win. A jacket-less Haith was instructing his players on what to do.

The huddle broke. The players returned to the court.

The lyrics "We ready, we ready" started blaring through the loudspeakers at Mizzou Arena.

Then the Tigers went on a five-point run. A 3-pointer from guard Jabari Brown and a layup from point guard Phil Pressey put Missouri up 58-57.

Tigers forward Laurence Bowers made the most important shot of the night.  

Pressey found Bowers for a mid-range jumper to put Missouri up 61-60, answering a 3-pointer from Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin with 1:15 to go. Pressey had 10 assists on the night.

The Tigers came through down the stretch with a 63-60 win over the No. 5 Gators on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena.

"To win games like this against a high quality team you have to execute," Haith said.

Bowers, who was told to focus on everything but his offense when he came back from his knee injury, didn't hesitate to shoot the ball. Bowers led Missouri with 17 points using turnaround fade-away jumpers and physical layups.

The rest of his game was working well, too. Bowers never hesitated to use his body to grab a loose ball, fight through contact to grab a rebound or to wrangle with a Florida player to get a jump ball. Bowers had six rebounds on the night.

"I just needed to play with nothing on my mind, just worrying about defense and rebounding like he (Haith) said," Bowers said. "I shot a few shots, but I promise you my approach was on the defensive end ... I just let the game come to me."

Missouri didn't have Bowers a month ago in a 31-point blowout loss at Florida. The Gators are now 21-4 overall and 11-2 in the SEC.

Florida had trouble shooting free throws all night, making only 50 percent. Gators coach Billy Donovan said his team was fatigued in the last parts of the game.

"I think fatigue played a factor," Donovan said. "They scored, and I thought our defense, for the most part, did a really good job in the game. I thought we defended very well except for those last eight minutes."

Missouri (19-7, 8-5 SEC) plays its next game Saturday at Kentucky. The Tigers improved to 15-0 at Mizzou Arena this season with the win.