Florida steals victory away from Mizzou, defeats Tigers 77-75

Mizzou Arena (File)

The game came down to 17.4 seconds, tied at 75, the ball in Mizzou's possession.

And Florida stole a victory away from the Tigers - literally.

Chris Chiozza stole a pass and raced the distance as time went off the clock to give Florida a 77-75 win over Missouri on Saturday afternoon.

Mizzou started the game strong, jumping out to an early 10-4 lead. With just seven minutes gone by in the first half, the Tigers had built a 12-7 lead. Jontay Porter knocked down a baseline jumper, Florida's Jalen Hudson with a three-pointer, but Jordan Barnett countered with a shot from deep. Terrence Phillips then stole an errant inbounds pass and layed it in, giving the Tigers a 19-10 advantage, prompting a timeout from Gators head coach Mike White with 12:29 remaining in the opening frame.

The Tigers continued their run and extended the lead to 24-12. From that point, it was all Florida the rest of the half. A 10-2 run, aided by Mizzou big men Jeremiah Tilmon and Kevin Puryear riding the bench in foul trouble, brought the visitors from Gainesville, Florida, right back into it.

At the half, Florida held a slim 36-35 lead, despite Mizzou shooting 6-9 from three-point range.

The Tigers regained the lead and even extended it to nine, but Florida crawled back in and made it close down the stretch. From the 17:37 mark of the second half until the final buzzer Missouri did not trail. However, the Tigers' post players were in foul trouble throughout.

Jeremiah Tilmon fouled out mid-second half, and Jontay Porter finished with four of his own. Florida lived up to its preseason top-ranking and slowly manage to trim the deficit.

Down by two with 20 seconds to go, guard Jalen Hudson drew a critical foul on Kassius Robertson, giving the Gators a chance to tie the game in the final seconds. Hudson hit two of three, leading to a Mizzou timeout.

Chiozza did the rest.

Forward Jordan Barnett led all scorers with 28 points. Robertson chipped in 12 and Porter had nine points. Had it not been for Chiozza's heroics, the story of the game would have been Barnett. He was 8-13 from the field, including 6-9 from beyond the arc.

Missouri (11-4, 1-1) returns home Wednesday to face Georgia at 8 p.m.

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