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Chiozza helps Florida steal 77-75 win at Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri had the ball with time winding down in a tie game. The Tigers figured to do no worse than go into overtime with Florida. Then the Gators’ Chris Chiozza stole a pass and cruised in for a layup to give Florida a 77-75 victory Saturday at Mizzou Arena.

The Gators (11-4, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) tied it with 22.2 seconds left when Jalen Hudson made two of three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt. Missouri (11-4, 1-1) called a timeout with 17.4 seconds remaining. Jordan Geist tried to pass from the wing to Kassius Robertson at the top of the key, but Chiozza stepped in front and converted on the other end.

Hudson led Florida with 16 points, Egor Koulechov added 15 and Chiozza and Keith Stone each scored 13.

Jordan Barnett led Missouri with 28 points, and Robertson added 12.

In a matchup of the SEC’s two most prolific 3-point shooting teams, Missouri made the most long-range shots. The Tigers made 11 of 19 3-pointers, while the Gators hit 8 of 22.

After trailing for almost the entire first half _ by as many as 12 points _ the Gators took a 36-35 halftime lead on Deaundrae Ballard’s reverse layup with 45 seconds left. The Tigers rebuilt a 70-62 lead on Jeremiah Tilmon’s shot-clock-beating jumper with 6:25 left in the game, but Missouri couldn’t hold the lead.

BIG PICTURE

Florida: After a spotty non-conference season, the Gators have started SEC play well, with back-to-back road wins over quality opponents. Florida beat 11th-ranked Texas A&M 83-66 on Tuesday.

Missouri: The 6-foot-10 Tilmon is one of the SEC’s most promising freshmen _ when he’s on the court. Staying out there is the hard part for Tilmon, who hasn’t helped himself with foul trouble all season. Although the last two fouls Saturday were quetionable block calls, Tilmon put himself in a bad spot with three silly first-half fouls. He stayed on the court for only eight minutes total. It was the second straight game in which he fouled out and the fourth this season.

UP NEXT

Florida will play at home against Mississippi State on Wednesday.

Missouri will host Georgia on Wednesday.