UF shooting guard Michael Frazier II shook off an ice-cold start to lead the No. 3 Gators to a 68-58 win against Missouri on Tuesday night and extend their win streak to 14 games. Frazier started the game 1 of 7 from beyond the arc and began to second guess himself. But his teammates kept encouraging the sophomore from Tampa to shoot, and he responded. Frazier hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions to highlight a 15-3 run that broke open a game that featured 12 ties and seven lead changes. "Him giving up an open 3 is like a turnover," senior center Patric Young said. The Tigers took their final lead at 45-43 on a runner by guard Jordan Clarkson. But Frazier's hot hand and the Gators' airtight defense soon would end Mizzou's hopes to end UF's 28-game home winning streak. "It was a struggle the whole way through," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "Nothing was easy for us. "It was one of those games where we had to have some resiliency and some fight." To keep their streaks alive, the Gators (20-2, 9-0 SEC) had to overcome a shaky night on offense and find a way to contain the Tigers' talented backcourt. Jabari Brown finished with 15 points, Jordan Clarkson had 14 and Wes Clark nailed two long 3-pointers to just beat the 35-second clock to keep Missouri (16-6, 4-5) close. Brown hit a long-range 3-point to beat the buzzer as the first half ended, giving the Tigers a 28-25 lead. It was the first time this season the Gators trailed at the half in the O'Connell Center. "He was a little livid especially with that last shot we let Brown hit," Young said of Donovan. Brown's basket came on the heels off a spectacular dunk by Gators freshman Chris Walker, who made his long-awaited debut on national TV with Hall of Fame announcer Dick Vitale courtside. A near-sellout crowd cheered Walker's every move during warmups. The 6-foot-10 McDonald's All-America obliged by offered fans a pregame appetizer — a windmill dunk. It was going to be Walker's night, on some level, even if he came up small in his college debut. "I'm so glad to finally just have it behind me," he said. Walker quickly made up for lost time, energizing the Gators and delivering for an electric crowd at the O'Dome. Walker would play just five minutes during the first half, fewer than eight Gators. But he made the most of them. Two highlight-reel dunks by Walker off lob passes from freshman point guard Kasey Hill gave a lift to a Gators' offense that struggled in the halfcourt during the entire first half. "You can see his running, athleticism," Donovan said. "He contributed very positively. I didn't know what to expect."
Michael Frazier II helps lift UF to win over Missouri
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Feb 5