Posts Tagged ‘Florida’
After relinquishing big leads against both Arkansas and LSU (and nearly blowing a double-digit lead in its win over Vandy on Wednesday), Coach Mark Fox preached the importance of “closing” to his team heading into today’s matchup with conference rival Florida.
With 5:46 left in the game, UGA held a 61-51 advantage, but Florida still seemed too close given the inconsistency that Georgia had shown towards the end of its first three SEC games.
This afternoon, though, the Dawgs kept their composure and actually extended the advantage to close out the win, knocking off the Gators 73-61 in Athens. This loss was the first for Florida in 24 SEC games, and it was definitely overdue for Georgia, who had dropped 18 of the previous 21 to the Gators.
Georgia started the game on fire, hitting its first 7 shots, allowing UGA to open up a 15-0 advantage.
Florida’s full-court pressure eventually began to wear down the Dawgs in the first half. After not turning the ball over for the first 11 minutes of the game, UGA committed 8 turnovers in the final 9 minutes going into intermission, enabling the Gators to close Georgia’s advantage to just 36-31. The Gators’ defense not only created turnovers, it also really limited the amount of time Mark Fox’s team had each possession to run its half-court sets, frustrating UGA offensively.
The Dawgs outscored the Gators 10-6 after the break, giving them a 46-37 lead with 15:16 left. From this point on, though, Georgia never looked back, building a double-digit lead that they managed to keep for the next fifteen minutes.
UGA had four players finish in double-figures, with Kenny Gaines and Marcus Thornton leading the way with 16 apiece. Kenny Gaines, who came out briefly midway through the second half with an undisclosed injury, once again played fantastic for Coach Fox, connecting on 4 of his 5 three-point attempts. Gaines has been lights out from beyond the arc since SEC play started, hitting 12 of his 21 attempts.
Surprisingly, Georgia – a team that couldn’t buy a three-point basket early in the season – entered today’s game with the best three-point shooting percentage in conference play at 43%. In today’s game against the Gators, the Dawgs made 53% of their shots from the perimeter, proving that they are a dangerous team from the outside.
Georgia’s biggest flaw this afternoon was its ball security – UGA committed 16 turnovers. Luckily, Coach Fox’s defense was able to turn the Gators over 19 times, a season-high for Billy Donovan’s team.
This win was huge for the Bulldogs, who even up their SEC record after starting the season 0-2 in conference games. Georgia will look to go above .500 in the SEC when they take on Ole Miss in Athens on Tuesday.
For the Georgia Bulldogs to have a chance of beating the #7 Florida Gators in Gainesville for the first time in 11 years, Coach Mark Fox needed his guys to play a flawless game on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, UGA’s performance was quite flawed.
Florida’s defensive pressure overwhelmed Georgia from the opening tip, forcing the Dawgs into 12 first-half turnovers. In addition to the carelessness, UGA couldn’t buy a basket, making just 31% of their field goals before the intermission.
The Dawgs’ leading scorers heading into this contest – Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines – were each held without a field goal in the game’s first 20 minutes – a recipe for disaster for this team. Mann and Gaines combined for only 1 point and 7 turnovers prior to the break.
Florida, conversely, was red hot, canning 50% of their shots, which allowed them to open up a 36-16 advantage after 20 minutes of play.
The Gators were in cruise control for pretty much the remainder of the game, albeit a mini-run by UGA that cut the Florida lead to 45-31 after a Marcus Thornton layup with 11:38 left in the game. UF answered quickly though, going on a 13-1 run that ran the score up to 58-32 with 5:44 remaining; Florida ended up winning 72-50, remaining unbeaten in conference games.
Georgia actually held a 6-4 lead after a Brandon Morris layup with 15:34 left in the half, but the Gators responded immediately with a 13-0 run over the next five minutes that gave them a 17-6 lead – Florida never really looked back.
The Gators were led offensively by Michael Frazier’s 21 points, which came from primarily beyond the arc, where he knocked down 5 three-pointers.
Georgia got 13 points from Juwan Parker off the bench, and Marcus Thornton chipped in another 11 points. For the most part, UGA’s offense wasn’t much to write home about, with Mann and Gaines scoring a combined 12 points on 4 of 15 shooting from the floor.
After a hot start, Georgia received some grounding on Tuesday from the Gators, who may be the best team in the SEC.
The Dawgs must rebound quickly from this loss and get ready to defend home turf against the Arkansas Razorbacks this coming Saturday.
First off, congratulations to sophomore Charles Mann for being named the SEC Player of the Week for his performances in Georgia’s wins over Missouri and Alabama. Mann averaged 20 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the victories, and his 18 free throw attempts against the Tide were the 4th most in UGA history for a single game.
As the Dawgs prepare to take on the #7 Florida Gators on Tuesday night, I would like to point out a couple interesting tidbits surrounding the game:
1. Florida will be playing without leading scorer Casey Prather for the second straight game. Prather, who is averaging 17 points per game this season, is still dealing with pain and swelling in his bruised right knee.
2. The Gators have won 24 games in a row in Gainesville at the O’Connell Center, tying a school record. Remember that just last Wednesday Georgia went on the road and ended Missouri’s 26-game home winning streak.
3. Speaking of the O’Connell Center, UGA has dropped the last 11 meetings inside that facility. The last time Georgia managed to upend Florida in Gainesville was on January 19, 2002 when Jarivs Hayes poured in 23 points en route to the 84-79 Dawgs’ victory.
How does everyone see this game playing out?
I am not going to have time for a full post due to how late it was last night when I returned to Atlanta from Athens, coupled with the fact that I need to be at work in less than an hour. However, here are three things from last night’s game that stuck out in my mind on the drive home (please comment or add to them below):
1. Even though Florida ended up winning 64-47, the Georgia Bulldogs deserve some credit for showing up Wednesday night ready to go toe-to-toe with the best team in the conference. Considering how badly the Gators whipped the Dawgs down in Athens, it would have been very easy for UGA to come out tentative in this game. Yet, Georgia appeared poised and fairly aggressive for the first twenty minutes, taking a 27-24 lead into the halftime break.
2. When Florida wants to shut a team down, they can look pretty dominant doing it. Coach Billy Donovan obviously was not happy with his squad’s first-half play because the Gators came out of the locker room a team possessed for the final twenty minutes. Nearly twelve minutes into the second half, Georgia had managed to turn the ball over 5 times and they had only mustered 4 points (on 1 field goal). The Dawgs’ offense looked miffed against the Florida pressure, either coughing it up, or just swinging the ball around the perimeter until someone could hoist up a last-second, fall away three to avoid a shot clock violation.
3. Florida is just a lot more talented than Georgia. When you see the Gators up close and in person, and then you look at what Georgia has on the floor, it’s not even a fair comparison. This Florida team is one of the better ones that Billy Donovan has put together in recent years, and they look like a squad that could go very deep into this year’s NCAA tournament.
Whatever celebration the Georgia Bulldogs (7-10; 1-3) enjoyed following the win over LSU on Saturday night most likely ended when they peered at the schedule and noticed that the #7 Florida Gators were up next.
The Dawgs’ first contest with the Gators – a 77-44 drubbing in Gainesville – seemed horrific for UGA at the time, but looking at Florida’s SEC resume thus far it appears the beating was business as usual for the Gators. Florida (14-2; 4-0), who is easily the top team in the conference, might be the best team in all of college basketball right now.
Need proof? Check out the 83-52 whipping Coach Billy Donovan’s put on #17 Missouri last Saturday on ESPN3 in the “Replay” tab.
In the Missouri game, Florida employed the same full-court, relentless pressure that flabbergasted the Dawgs a few weeks ago. The Gators’ defense has been scary-good through their first four SEC games, holding opponents to a conference-best 48.8 points per night. In those same games, Florida’s average margin of victory has been nearly 27 points a game, also tops in the league. When looking at the Gators’ team statistics in conference play, it appears that they are either first or second in just about every category – field goal percentage, turnover margin, rebounding, assists, etc.
Georgia, on the other hand, can be found near the bottom of the list in nearly every aforementioned category. The biggest concern for Coach Mark Fox at this moment should be his team’s inability to take care of the basketball. Through four SEC games, UGA is now tied with Vanderbilt with 17.3 turnovers per game, which is worst in the league. In the first game between these two teams Georgia gave it away 19 times – if the Dawgs cannot become stronger with the ball then Wednesday night’s match-up could quickly evolve into another 30-point beat-down.
Georgia’s backcourt has got to start defending the perimeter better as well, since they are currently allowing SEC opponents to make nearly 43% of their three-point attempts (also worst in the conference). Florida, who is knocking down an SEC-best 8.8 three’s per game, canned 12 from beyond the arc the first time these teams met. The Dawgs cannot afford to allow the Gators to reel off big chunks of points from the outside with Georgia’s ongoing scoring issues.
Realistically, UGA needs to play a completely flawless game just to have a chance to hang around on Wednesday against the #7 team. Florida may not take the Dawgs too seriously, considering how badly they mistreated them down in Gainesville. If the Gators do sleepwalk into Athens, then maybe Georgia can keep themselves in the game.
One thing is for sure, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will need to be a lot more assertive this time against Florida than he was the last. In the O’Connell Center, KCP only put up one shot through the game’s first 12 minutes. By the time Pope reached the scoring column on a lay-up with 8:06 left in the first half, Georgia was already trailing 19-6.
The Georgia Bulldogs first conference game of the season did not go well.
Coach Mark Fox’s young team, facing the 11th-ranked squad in the country on the road, got out to what can only be described as the worst start imaginable for an inexperienced team away from home.
Billy Donoans’s Gators came out of the gates applying relentless full court pressure, forcing the Dawgs into 4 turnovers on their first 5 possessions. By the time five minutes had elapsed, Georgia found themselves on the wrong end of an 11-0 run.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did not even find his way into the scoring column until eight minutes remained before the half. The Bulldogs were frustrated into near meltdown-mode offensively, and their leading scorer refused to assert himself.
Credit Florida senior Kenny Boynton for the defensive performance he put on KCP on Wednesday night. Boynton may have struggled to find offense, scoring just 7 points on 2 of 8 shooting from the floor, but he made up for it on the other end of the court, holding Pope to only 11 points on the night (on 4 of 10 shooting).
The Gators took a 28-15 advantage into the break, which seemed rather shocking considering just how lopsided this half felt as an observer.
Florida proceeded to begin the second half much like it started the first, opening up with an 8-0 run. Following a lay-up by Tim Dixon with 16:45 left in the game, the Gators lead had ballooned to 36-19.
For most of the second half, Florida merely toyed with Georgia, setting themselves up for wide open three after wide open three. With 12:06 remaining, Florida’s lead approached thirty points (53-26) after freshman Michael Frazier hit his second shot from beyond the arc. At the 8:35 mark, the Gators advantage had blossomed to 62-31.
Florida made 12 of their 26 three-point attempts, which really made the score unbalanced considering UGA was only able to hit one shot from the perimeter.
When the final horn sounded, Georgia had committed 19 turnovers which factored greatly into the Gators 77-44 blowout.
Florida was led offensively by guard Mike Rosario, who scored a game-high 19 points.
In the first conference game of their young careers, Charles Mann and Brandon Morris finally looked like freshman – tentative and unsure of what to do with the ball. The two players combined for just two field goals in a total 47 minutes played.
The loss tonight to Florida puts an end to Georgia’s four-game winning streak. The Dawgs had clearly not faced an animal with teeth like the Gators during their recent stretch of games, and tonight’s UGA performance highlighted a plethora of areas in which this team must improve (ball security, press break, etc.).
While the Gators were heavily favored heading into this match-up, the outcome turned out to be even more disproportionate than anticipated.
However, Georgia must find a way to regroup quickly so that they will be prepared to hold serve at home this Saturday against Mississippi State in a game that should serve as a good indicator of just how this SEC season might go for the Dawgs.
The Georgia Bulldogs (6-7) will begin conference play on Wednesday as they head south to take on the #11 Florida Gators (10-2).
The Gators returned a solid core of players – Kenny Boynton, Patrick Young, Erik Murphy – this season from a team that was just a basket away from reaching the Final Four in last year’s NCAA Tournament. ESPN’s Myron Metcalf likes Florida to win the SEC, citing senior forward/center Erik Murphy as a critical portion of that prediction. Murphy – Florida’s second-leading scorer at 12.1 ppg – is a big body to contend with inside at 6’10”, yet he possesses a surprisingly soft touch from the outside, hitting over 45% of his three-point attempts.
Unfortunately for Florida Coach Billy Donovan, Murphy is listed as “doubtful” for the game against Georgia, and he may miss up to two weeks with a rib injury.
The Gators will definitely miss Murphy’s offense on Wednesday night, and his absence is certainly a huge plus for a UGA team that could use any and every possible advantage available in their first SEC road game of 2013.
Coach Mark Fox’s defense must capitalize on the weakened Florida lineup by centering much of their defensive focus on shutting down senior guard Kenny Boynton. Boynton, a preseason First-Team All-SEC selection, leads the Gators with nearly 14 points per contest, and he is an extremely streaky shooter with the ability to change games quickly from the perimeter.
However, in each of Florida’s two losses this season – Arizona and Kansas State – Boynton struggled to score, managing just 16 total points on a combined 6 for 21 shooting performance from the floor. In both of the aforementioned games, Boynton shot woefully from beyond the arc, making only 2 of his 12 attempts.
The message for the Georgia backcourt: Stop Boynton and you might stop Florida.
If the Dawgs can contain Boynton and not let junior Patrick Young hurt them too much in the paint, they may find themselves hanging around late in the game – Vegas doesn’t think so though, slotting Georgia as an 18-point underdog in this one.
Young is monster in the frontcourt, standing 6’9″ and weighing nearly 250lbs (most of which appears to be solid muscle). He is chipping in over 10 points and almost 7 boards a night for Billy Donovan thus far.
Georgia is riding a four-game win streak into Gainesville, though I would like to note that the team they face on Wednesday night is going to look nothing like the squads UGA entertained in Athens in December. In addition, this game will be the first conference game of the year for the freshmen, meaning that “playtime” is over for Charles Mann and Brandon Morris – from here on out, the defenders are going to be bigger and quicker across the board.
Finally, Coach Fox must continue to get solid offensive production from sophomore big Nemanja Djurisic. The Montenegro Express has been scorching hot the past two games, averaging 19 points and 6 rebounds. The Dawgs have to be able to rely on Neme to help supplement some of the scoring in SEC play so that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope does not have to do it all himself.
Oh yeah – the last time Georgia won a game at the O’Connell Center was over a decade ago (2002).