Jacksonville Sports Day

SEC: Georgia Upsets No. 23 Florida Gators 72-60

The Georgia Bulldogs basketball team upset the 23rd-ranked Florida Gators 72-60 on Tuesday night in Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia’s win over a ranked Gator team is the first since 2011-12 when the Bulldogs topped No. 11 Florida 76-62.

The Bulldogs limited the conference’s third-highest scoring offense to its lowest point total in conference play and held the Gators to 36.5 percent from the floor – their second-lowest output in SEC play.

“It was a team effort tonight and we have to credit our bench for lifting us up. Tyree gave us a big effort in the first half and Nic Claxton and Mike Edwards gave us big effort in the second half when Yante didn’t start the half that well. That really changed the momentum of the game, that and a great crowd combined for a key victory,” said UGA coach Mark Fox.

Senior forward Yante Maten had his 20th double-digit game of the season in addition to being tonight’s high scorer with 20. Junior guard William Turtle Jackson II followed with his 12th double-digit game of the season with 16 while redshirt senior guard Juwan Parker also posted his ninth double-digit game of the season with 12.

“There’s gonna be in a period in every season when you just don’t play great,” said Fox. “It’s the midseason funk and hopefully ours is behind us. Yes, we needed something to go right, but give credit to our kids, they stayed the course and stayed positive, and tonight they were rewarded.”

Florida (15-7, 6-3) had the first points of the game, but Georgia (13-8, 4-5) was able to push past with Jackson sinking a three from the top of the key, followed by a Maten tip-in to tie the game 5-5.

Trailing by one at the 15:43 mark, a three by sophomore guard Tyree Crump ignited 11 unanswered points against Florida. A three from Parker in that run propelled the Bulldogs over Florida, 28-26, for their first lead of the night.

Gator foul trouble enabled Georgia to shoot 71.4 percent from the line giving the Bulldogs their largest margin, eight, of the half., and Georgia maintained the lead, 37-32, heading into halftime.

Returning to the court, Florida fought to tie the game twice within the first two minutes. A Jalen Hudson 3-pointer gave the Gators the edge, 42-39, for the first time in the second half, but Georgia powered through a five point deficit with a three from freshman forward Nicolas Claxton and tip-in from sophomore guard Jordan Harris to knot the game at 48.

Another Hudson three from the top of the key brought Florida on top once again, 51-50. The Bulldogs answered with junior forward Derek Ogbeide tipping in the ball for the 52-51 advantage. Jackson nabbed a steal on defense causing a Florida foul and his two free throws gave Georgia its first double-digit lead, 11, over the Gators 64-53.

A Maten three and lay-up launched Georgia on the second of two separate nine point runs during the half. Florida foul trouble continued in the second, allowing Georgia to shoot 86.7 percent and accumulate 13 of the 35 points scored in the half from the line. Maten’s last free throw solidified the Georgia win 72-60 over Florida.

Tonight’s score mirrored last years result, 72-60, but with Georgia securing victory this year.

Georgia is now 10 games away from tying the overall series record with Florida. The Bulldogs won the rebound battle, picking up 44 boards to Florida’s 35. Parker tied his season-high assists with three and Claxton tied his career-high blocks with three as well.

“Nic’s length impacts the game defensively. He is so long and he gives us a presence to protect the rim and was one of the reasons our defense was so good. We just executed our scheme extremely well. (Florida’s scoring drought) That happens to teams when the home team is aggressive and confident, it becomes difficult to score and I was pleased with our defense,” added Fox.

 

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