Chris Chiozza stole the ball and laid it in with 0.1 seconds left Saturday as Florida rallied in the last minute to notch a 77-75 Southeastern Conference win at Missouri.
Jalen Hudson sank two of three free throws with 21 seconds remaining to tie the game. The Tigers (11-4, 1-1) dribbled the ball to midcourt and took timeout to set up a potential winning shot, but Chiozza had other ideas.
Chiozza swooped in from the back side and stole Jordan Geist’s pass between the circles and shot an uncontested layup, leaving Missouri no time to answer. The Gators improved to 11-4 overall and 3-0 in the conference.
Florida’s balance overcame a supreme individual performance by Tigers senior Jordan Barnett. He connected on six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 28 points to go along with nine rebounds, but wasn’t able to score in the last 10 minutes.
Five players reached double figures for the Gators. Hudson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, came off the bench to tally 16 points. Egor Koulechov hit for 15, while Chiozza and Keith Stone each scored 13 points. Kevarrius Hayes netted 10.
Missouri started out strong, establishing a 24-12 lead with 10:58 left in the first half as Barnett converted an offensive rebound off Kevin Puryear’s miss. Florida made the next move, reeling the Tigers in for the half’s remainder and taking a 36-35 edge to the locker room as Deaundrae Ballard hit a layup with 46 seconds left in the half.
With the Gators ahead 51-49, Missouri uncorked a 13-1 spurt, Geist’s 3-pointer with 10:05 remaining giving it a 62-52 advantage. But Florida again worked its way back into contention, as Hudson’s 3-point play pulled it within 75-73 at the 1:10 mark.
The Tigers committed a shot-clock violation before Hudson tied the game. Their next possession led to Chiozza’s dramatic play, silencing the near-capacity crowd at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Missouri lost despite making nearly 48 percent of its field goal tries and going 11-of-19 on 3-pointers.
—Field Level Media