Bulldogs Top Gators 73-61 with Strong Shooting Effort
The Georgia Bulldogs improved to 2-2 in SEC play with a wire-to-wire 73-61 victory over the Florida Gators at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday.
Georgia’s win snapped Florida’s 24-game conference win streak.
Kenny Gaines and Marcus Thornton each scored a game-high 16 points on a combined 12-of-16 from the field. Gaines continued his hot streak form deep, connecting on 4-of-5 3-point attempts while Thornton connected on 7-of-8 shots from the floor. Charles Mann and J.J. Frazier also notched double-digit performances, scoring 10 and 11 points respectively.
“That was a great win for Georgia,” Bulldog head coach Mark Fox said after the game. “We beat a terrific team, a well-coached Florida team, and that was a high level game. Both teams really competed, finished plays offensively, and were playing so hard defensively that both teams were forcing turnovers. That was a very high level game and we feel fortunate to win. We have great respect for Coach Donovan’s team.”
Georgia (11-5, 2-2) connected on its first seven field goal attempts of the game, four of which came from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs opened with a 21-6 run that lasted through the 12:30 mark of the first half. Florida (10-7, 3-1) narrowed the gap steadily through the remainder of the half, outscoring Georgia 20-12 in the final 10 minutes of the period. Both teams shot 50 percent form the field in the first half, but the Bulldogs connected on 7-of-10 3-point attempts to help give them a 36-31 lead at the halfway point.
Devin Robinson opened the second half for Florida with a 3-pointer that cut the lead to two, which would turn out to be the smallest deficit for the remainder of the game. Georgia responded by going on an 18-7 run over the next eight minutes to give the Bulldogs a 56-41 lead with 11:00 left to play.
Florida kept trying to chip into the lead, getting to within 10 on three occasions, but the Bulldogs continued to answer with baskets of their own, including eight free throws in the final 2:36 to close out the victory.
Robinson and Dorian Finney-Smith each scored 11 points to pace the Gators. Michael Frazier scored 10 off the bench. Florida shot an even 50 percent from the field, but could only connect on 31.3 percent of its 3-point attempts and 57.1 percent of its free throw attempts.
Georgia vs. Florida Notes
· Georgia’s starting lineup was: Marcus Thornton (76th career start), Nemanja Djurisic (41st), J.J. Frazier (5th), Charles Mann (55th) and Kenny Gaines (46th).
· This was the 208th all-time meeting between the Bulldogs and the Gators. Georgia earned its 100th win in the series, narrowing the margin to 109-100 in favor of Florida.
· Georgia is now 63-37 all-time against Florida in Athens.
· The win snapped Florida’s 24-game conference win streak. The Gator’s last conference loss came against Ole Miss in the SEC Championship game, 66-63.
· Juwan Parker and Yante Maten each returned to the lineup for the Bulldogs after missing the Vanderbilt game earlier in the week. The two played a combined 21 minutes off the bench, combining for five points and four rebounds.
· Georgia shot 64.7 percent from the field in the second half, its highest total since shooting 66.7 percent in the second half against Chattanooga earlier in the season. It was also the second-highest shooting performance in a half of the season.
· Georgia had a season-low 26 rebounds on the day, one fewer than against Vanderbilt earlier in the week.
· The Bulldogs shot over 50 percent from beyond the arc for the second consecutive game, and for just the third time this season.
· Georgia tied its season high with 11 steals.
· Marcus Thornton had a season-high three steals.
· Houston Kessler tied a career high with three points, making just his second 3-pointer of his career.
Georgia will return to action on Tuesday night, Jan. 20, when the Bulldogs host Ole Miss. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be aired on the SEC Network.