No. 24 Florida bids to continue ascent vs. reeling Missouri

The Florida Gators have hit their stride in Southeastern Conference play, winning eight of their last 10 games to climb into the Associated Press Top 25 poll.Their only losses during that span were at Texas A&M and Alabama, with the latter setback coming in overtime.The No. 24 Gators (19-8, 9-5) will look to maintain their momentum on Wednesday evening when they host Missouri (8-19, 0-14) in Gainesville, Fla.Florida rolled past Vanderbilt 77-64 on Saturday while recording 17 assists in a smooth offensive performance.”It’s been a little bit of our calling card, especially since we got into conference play, and in non-conference play as well,” Florida coach Todd Golden said. “We’ve done a really good job of being effective in assisted baskets, and it’s part of the reason why we’ve been so efficient offensively all year and our ball control is one of our best qualities as a team.”Will Richard scored 21 points against the Commodores while shooting 5-for-9 from 3-point range.”When he bangs shots, it definitely opens up a lot of things for us,” Golden said. “He’s gotten a lot better defensively and improved a little bit on the glass so is a really solid, really good player for us and one of the big reasons why we’ve had as much success as we’ve had so far this year.”Despite Florida’s margin of victory vs. Vanderbilt, Golden was disappointed his team was limited to 10 offensive rebounds.”We weren’t good on the offensive glass,” Golden said. “And it’s just kind of a mentality mindset. I think we let it slip a little bit (against Alabama). It obviously regressed a little bit more today to lose this battle on the glass. So again, always looking for teaching points after victories.”Getting back on the glass is something that we’re going to have to get right before we play Missouri on Wednesday.”Florida defeated Missouri 79-67 on Jan. 20 in Columbia, Mo. All five starters scored in double figures for the Gators, led by Tyrese Samuel (17 points) and Walter Clayton Jr. (15).