Georgia falls to Florida, 92-84
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Georgia falls to Florida, 92-84

Georgia-Florida
Photo: Tony Walsh/UGA

ATHENS, Ga. – After a scoring drought in the second half, the University of Georgia men’s basketball team fell to Florida, 92-84, before 1,638 fans at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday Afternoon.

From the field the Bulldogs shot 32-59, 54.2 percent, and recorded 22 assists, their highest mark this season.

Graduate Andrew Garcia led the Bulldogs with 17 points, his second highest scoring performance as a Bulldog. Garcia’s season high came against Florida A&M earlier this season, scoring 22. He was followed by freshman K.D. Johnson who had 16 and fellow graduate, Justin Kier who finished his afternoon with 14.

Sahvir Wheeler notched his fifth double- double this season with 10 assists and 10 points, thanks to his ability to score in transition. This is the fifth time this season the sophomore has recorded 10 or more assists in a game.

“That aggressiveness that we had against Ole Miss and Kentucky and the last couple of days wasn’t there at all, and the fact is that we only had four deflections at half, we were getting beat off the dribble, and we just weren’t physical enough,” Head Coach Tom Crean said.”

The Bulldogs got off to a hot start with Tye Fagan opening the game scoring 20 seconds into the first half. Going back and forth with the Gators, Justin Kier would hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put Georgia ahead at the under-12 media. Florida would then retake the lead for a solid seven minutes, until Jonathan Ned and Toumani Camara contributed a 5-0 run to tie the game 26-26 with eight minutes remaining. A defensive rebound from Fagan and pass to Wheeler would cause a foul down the court for Wheeler to shoot two. He would put Georgia ahead 28-26 to chomp the Gators’ lead. Florida’s Noah Locke would go on to hit a 3-pointer in response. The Gators wouldn’t let Georgia take the lead for the rest of the half, but the Bulldogs’ offense responded with a 10-point run to cut the score 40-39. With just seconds remaining, Omar Payne of Florida would notch the final layup of the half. The Gators would head into the locker room leading 42-39.

Florida would begin the second half having the offensive hot hand, continuing their lead by scoring seven points without a returning one from Georgia until the 18:25 mark with a free throw from Camara. In response the Gators would go on to score another six points to run it up 58-44, only allowing Georgia to snag four points. At the 14-minute mark, a layup from Wheeler would spark the offense for the Bulldogs. Within three minutes, Georgia would score nine points and only allowed four from Florida. The rest of the half, the scoreboard was in favor of the Gators, but the Bulldogs would close the wide deficit. Points from Garcia, Johnson and Kier would close it down to eight points between the two opponents by the end of the game with Florida securing the 92-84 road win.

Georgia will now turn its focus to South Carolina as they hit the road for Wednesday, Jan. 27 in Columbia. The tilt is set for 7 p.m., and will be broadcasted on ESPN2.

POST-GAME NOTES

• Georgia owns the advantage in games played in Athens against Florida with the 63-41 edge. However, Florida holds the lead in the series between the Bulldogs and the Gators with 117-105 in the interstate rivalry.

• The Bulldogs remain one of the nation’s most balanced offensive teams, with no less than seven players averaging 9.5 ppg or more. Saturday’s matchup exhibited this power with five players scoring in the double-digits.

• Graduate transfer Justin Kier posted a double-figure scoring output in with 14 points. He scored 10 or more points for the sixth time this season and for the 57th of his career.

• Sophomore Toumani Camara notched his 11th double-digit game this season and 19th of his career with 11 points.
• Graduate transfer Andrew Garcia chalked up a double-digit tally for the seventh time this season and 47th in his career. He scored the team’s high of the game with 17 points.

• Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week KD Johnson bagged a double-figure game for the fourth time this season and his collegiate career.

• Sophomore Sahvir Wheeler exhibited why he is first in the SEC in assists, posting a double-double (10 points, 10 assists) for the fifth time this season and fifth in his career. This was also Wheeler’s 11th time scoring in the double-digits this season and 23rd of his career.

• Wheeler now has five point-assist double-doubles this season, the second-most of any SEC player during the 2000s.

• The Bulldog’s won the competition off the bench with 39 points from the non-starters in the game, while Florida had 22 from the bench.

• Georgia’s swift offense was on full display leading the fast break points in the game. UGA: 19 / UF: 11.

• Coming into this week Georgia ranked second in the SEC for assists at 15.2 apg. The Bulldogs had 22 on Saturday.

POST-GAME QUOTES

GEORGIA HEAD COACH TOM CREAN

On team’s energy during the game…

“I didn’t see it coming, but we did. Our last two days were really good. They were short. They were concise. They were aggressive. We’ve even backed them off the last couple of days because they’ve been so aggressive in practice. That aggressiveness that we had against Ole Miss and Kentucky and the last couple of days wasn’t there at all, and
the fact is that we only had four deflections at half, we were getting beat off the dribble, and we just weren’t physical enough. I think a lot of it was the lack of physicality, which made it look like we were getting outhustled, the lack of being down and being aggressive. So, to answer your question, yes, but it’s also because we did not come with the physicality and fight that you have to have to compete against anybody let alone a team that has the talent up front that Florida has.”

On team’s spirit heading into the next game…

“I don’t know. We just have to get back to practice. We just did it a couple of days ago. I think it’s just that we have to look at the lineups. It was a little out of character for the lack of physicality for guys that I think if you look at Toumani [Camara], P.J. [Horne], and Andrew [Garcia], and you look at the lack of rebounding, it starts right there. Again, a couple of nights ago, we were extremely physical and aggressive on the glass, so I think it’s just lack of consistency more than it is anything else.”

On what looked promising…

“They were locked in, everybody was locked in. It was—you never know if you are going to win the game, but to play with the lack of spirit and to play with the lack of aggressiveness, in a game like this today, that didn’t make sense. That really didn’t make sense. They [Florida] have a really great program, Mike [White] has built that program up. He has done a really great job with his recruiting, they are deep, he has had the chance to build it and get guys that can really play the style that he wants to play, and they have been there a little bit with it now. But that is no excuse, we have got to bear down and go. As much as we worked on things, we never took away what we wanted to take away. Whether it was individuals, off the dribble, whether it was the rebounding, we just weren’t aggressive enough. If you don’t come to fight in this league, the other team usually does, and you are going to be behind it. Again, we still had numerous chances, but we just did not put any consistency together today aggressiveness wise.”

GEORGIA GRADUATE ANDREW GARCIA

On what was the most frustrating aspect of today’s game…

“We always harp on that—we have to make our free throws. Those always hurt. But, we obviously got out-rebounded in this game, and they exposed us on the second chance points. So, it was really frustrating. We were trying to just figure it out throughout the game.”

On if he was surprised by the outcome of the game…

“It is something we definitely don’t want to back track on, that is something we have talked about as a team. But, we know collectively what we have to do, and we fell short. We kept making the wrong play on the defensive end and giving up those boards. It is frustrating coming off a game where we played as hard as we did. But everybody knows what we have to do. So, we just have to stick together and figure it out.”

GEORGIA SOPHOMORE SAHVIR WHEELER

On what was the most frustrating aspect of today’s game…

“We always harp on that—we have to make our free throws. Those always hurt. But, we obviously got out-rebounded in this game, and they exposed us on the second chance points. So, it was really frustrating. We were trying to just figure it out throughout the game.”

On if he was surprised by the outcome of the game…

“It is something we definitely don’t want to back track on, that is something we have talked about as a team. But, we know collectively what we have to do, and we fell short. We kept making the wrong play on the defensive end and giving up those boards. It is frustrating coming off a game where we played as hard as we did. But everybody knows what we have to do. So, we just have to stick together and figure it out.”

On team inconsistency from game to game…

“I think now looking back in hindsight as a group collectively, we know what it takes for us to win games and we know some of the common factors when we don’t win games. We’re still in the growing process. We’ve had some pretty good wins and losses that we wish we could have taken back some plays here and there to come back. But obviously, it’s frustrating to lose games, no one wants to lose. But, we have found some bright spots in today’s game whether that is Mikal [Starks] and his defensive pressure, K.D. [Johnson] getting to the basket, and even Johnathan Ned coming in for 10 minutes and getting two threes and a couple of rebounds. So obviously, we lost but there are some bright spots, and we’re going to get back to the drawing board and keep getting better.”

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