The Georgia Bulldawgs had a packed house at Stegeman Coliseum. They had a team that battled Florida on almost even terms for more than 35 minutes in Gainesville. And they were desperate for a win after consecutive SEC losses to Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
They just didn’t have enough game.
Georgia led the Gators by five at 18-13, but Billy Donovan’s team ended the first half on a 23-12 run to go up 36-30 at intermission. A 9-2 run opened up the second half and Georgia never got the deficit inside ten the rest of the way. The 71-61 win improved the Gators to 22-and-2 on the season, and a still perfect 9-and-0 in the SEC. The Gators remain two games ahead of the field with seven to play and can add a game to that and all but wrap up the SEC Title with a win in Lexington Saturday night.
Brewer/Horford Take Control
Corey Brewer set the tone with a dunk off the opening tip and the junior forward continued to set the pace all night long. He scored 12 of his game-high 18 points during the first 20 minutes as he became the first member of this team to reach 1,000 career points. Brewer made 6-of-8 from the field and all four of his free throws and chipped in four assists and two steals for good measure.
Horford has been a man lately and that continued with his third straight double-double. Big Al scored 17 and grabbed a game-high ten rebounds and also dished out three assists. In the last seven games, Horford has scored 102 points (14.6) and grabbed 75 rebounds (10.7). He leads the Gators with ten double-doubles this season and 25 in his career.
Lee Humphrey was hounded by the Georgia defense all night and only was able to launch three three-pointers in the contest. He made them all. Taurean Green (8 points) and Joakim Noah (10 points) were kind of quiet this night, but they did combine to make 8 of 9 free throws.
It was just a game that was never in doubt. Florida got to the basket easily, shot a typically high percentage both from the field (52.1 %) and the three-point line (55.6 %) and for good measure had a solid day at the charity stripe making 16 of 22 (72.7 %). When the Gators shoot well and minimize their turnovers (11) they are very tough to beat. One highlight for Georgia is that they won the battle of the boards (33-31) for the second time this season against UF. Florida has only been out-rebounded four times and Georgia is two of those four.
Billy Donovan on the Game
“I really felt coming in here that this would be a tremendous test for our team. I think if you look at Georgia and their home wins and who they have beaten and how they’ve beaten them it’s been very impressive. We got up by six at the half and knew it was going to be a battle. One thing Georgia has done, if you look at their game against LSU and their game against Kentucky teams that had leads on them here at home they fought back.
I was very, very proud of our guys and the way they played. We shot a very high percentage on the road, which helped. We had good inside outside action. And I thought defensively, our defense on the three point line was very good (Georgia 4-22 .182). I thought they hurt us some times on dribble penetration.
They’re a very difficult team to play because they rebound the ball so well. They have a lot of size and they have a lot of front court players they can throw in there. But I’m really, really proud of our guys and how they competed and played in a very, very tough road environment.
Billy Donovan on the Play of Brewer
I thought he really played well. He had some plays in the first half that were not great plays when he took a couple of bad shots and turned it over a couple of times. It almost reminded me a little bit of the Mississippi State game. When he’s got that type of focus and he’s got that type of energy and he’s flying around like that you have to live with a couple of his mistakes because he’s bringing so much to the table. He got off well; he knocked down a couple of threes in the first half that I thought were big when we got down five. He had a great, driving dunk in the second half he got out on the break, he made his free throws. I just think his energy was very good tonight.