Dawgs hold lead for nearly entire game, beat Gators 76-62

The Georgia Bulldogs (13-15; 4-10) knocked off another ranked team on Saturday, besting the #12 Florida Gators in Athens 76-62 inside Stegeman Coliseum.

The Dawgs held a double-digit lead for much of the second half until the wheels appeared to be coming off for Coach Mark Fox’s team in the closing minutes of the game.  Following a Kenny Boynton three-pointer, the Gators had cut the Georgia lead to only 67-62 with just 1:53 remaining.

On the Bulldogs‘ ensuing possession, Georgia held the ball for nearly 30 seconds before Gerald Robinson, Jr. made a move towards the basket.  Robinson, however, lost the ball off on a deflected pass, which eventually ended up near the half court line.  Fortunately for Georgia, Florida’s Bradley Beal fouled Dustin Ware as he was going for the ball with only a few ticks left on the shot clock.  Ware calmly stepped up to the free throw line and buried both shots, putting his team up by three possessions at 69-62.

If Beal doesn’t foul Ware on that play, Georgia most surely turns the ball over on the expired shot clock, giving Florida the ball with a chance to cut the game down to one possession.

This moment was definitely a critical part in the game, but for the most part the afternoon belonged to UGA.  The Gators never held a lead in this game, shooting a dismal 36.7% from the floor and scoring only 62 points (nearly 9 below their conference average).

The Dawgs played inspired defense for the full 40 minutes, holding Florida to just 5 three-pointers on 23 attempts.

Offensively, it seemed as if Georgia could do no wrong.  The Bulldogs shot nearly 53% from the field, making big shot after big shot.  It felt as though every time the Gators started to edge closer, Dustin Ware would hit a step-back three or Neme Djurisic would get a stick-back lay-up.

The Bulldogs saw five players reach double-figures today, with Kentavious-Caldwell Pope leading the charge with 18 points.

Gerald Robinson played one of his best games ever as a Bulldog (in my opinion), scoring 15 points and dishing out a game-high 7 assists.  Robinson ignited the offense this afternoon, providing resilient leadership on the court against a highly-ranked SEC opponent.

On the block, Neme Djurisic and Donte Williams stepped up and scored 12 and 11 points, respectively.  Neme finished with a team-high 7 boards and Williams blocked 6 – yes 6 – Florida shots.  The Georgia bigs also showed up on the defensive end as well, holding Patrick Young and Erik Murphy to just 10 combined points.

Last, but certainly not least, I have to throw a big-time bone to senior Dustin Ware, who scored 11 points to go along with 6 assists.  Ware started the game on the bench due to his recent offensive woes, yet once the ball tipped off he transformed back into the solid contributor that he has been throughout his career as a Bulldog.

Ware canned a monster step-back three-pointer with 7:42 left in the game that ended a 7-0 Florida run, extending the Georgia lead back out to 61-49.  He also forced a steal and made 5 of 6 free throw attempts in the games final 3 minutes, playing a critical role in helping his team close out the victory.

I also have to give a lot of credit to Coach Fox and the Georgia coaching staff.  In the last 10 minutes of this contest the Bulldogs did an excellent job maximizing the shot clock, which in turn limited the number of Florida offensive possessions.

For me personally, the best part of the day came towards the end of the game when all the loud and boisterous Florida fans began an early mass exodus of Stegeman Coliseum before the final horn sounded.

This Georgia team continues to remain somewhat of an enigma with surprising wins over teams like Florida, Notre Dame and Mississippi State, and disappointing losses to Auburn and South Carolina.

The Dawgs conference record improves to 4-10 following the win over Florida, pitting them in a tie with the Auburn Tigers for 10th in the conference.   Auburn has remaining games at Alabama and then against LSU – they could easily lose both – meaning that if Georgia could knock off South Carolina at home next weekend they would secure the 10-seed in the conference tournament.  This would match the Dawgs up with either Arkansas, Missy State, Ole Miss or even LSU – all of which are winnable games for UGA.

I know that I promised after the Vanderbilt game not to mention the NIT Tournament again this season, but if Georgia could muster a couple of wins in the conference tournament – might they receive a selection?

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20 thoughts on “Dawgs hold lead for nearly entire game, beat Gators 76-62

  1. Quite simply, this was clearly the dawgs’best game of the year. I’m glad you threw a bone to Ware, Hoop, as he was awesome today and was voted by the radio crew as the player of the game. Robinson, however, was also brillant. What do you think about GR2’s chances of garnering some all-league honors this year? I’m hard pressed to think of many in this league with the creativity Gerald possesses. Our place in the standings argues against such recognition, except maybe the Coaches’ team–I’m sure they know how good Gerald is. It sure is great to be a dawg when we beat the gators. I loved standing to “chomp” them as they left the Steg!

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    1. GR2 is currently in the top 10 in scoring, assists and steals in league games this season, so I would say that he is definitely deserving of an All-SEC Second Team selection.

      Honestly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him land on an NBA team in the near future. Considering that Sundiata Gaines is enjoying his second stint in the league, I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibilities that Robinson might get a shot too.

      He is ultra-fast and quick and I think he could do a lot of creating on his own in the NBA (my two cents).

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  2. I am so glad I made it over to Athens today. When the subdued Florida crowd tried to get loud the student section immediately shouted them down. I can’t say I have ever seen the Stegosaurus rocking like that at least not in a long time. Just awesome.

    There were all kinds of crazy things in this game like looking up at the board and seeing all 5 Georgia players listed with double figures. Wow! Almost makes me think they could beat Kentucky…

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    1. I told you the Steg would be rocking with students today. I was worried when I got lower level seats less than 5 minutes before tip off, but I think we did a great job being loud. Always great to beat Florida at any sport.

      I hope we keep it within 20 against UK.

      Great win though.

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    2. UK has won 51 consecutive home games since Senior Day 2009 when the underwhelming Georgia Bulldogs beat them.

      Guess what? Thurs night is Senior Night in Lexington. Sic ’em Dawgs!

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  3. I personally think that Donte Williams should have been player of the game, he played some monster defense and had a couple large rebounds. Those last two free throws he drained all net on, were the icing on his cake. Nice game Donte!

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    1. Hard to single a player out for this one. Even if the score sheet doesn’t reflect it, a lot of players had their best game of the year this afternoon. Screw the Gators.

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      1. Did you see that shot that he blocked twice! Once with both hands, don’t think I have ever seen that before!….and I watch a ton of roundball.

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  4. Great coaching job. Fox does know what he’s doing. I think he is still learning to coach in the big leagues. Even if it’s only one game, the players reflect being coached up. There is hope for next year. Who will lead next year with Robinson gone ?

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    1. Great question! Robinson will be sorely missed.

      My conservative starting five projection:

      PG – Vincent Williams
      SG – KCP
      SF – Marcus Thornton
      PF – Donte Williams
      C – Neme or Florveous

      My “out on a limb” starting five projection:

      PG – Vincent Williams
      SG – Kenny Gaines
      SF – KCP
      PF – Marcus Thornton
      C – Donte Williams

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  5. I thought as I left the Steg that nobody had a bad game for the dawgs. We truly hit on all cylinders for an entire 40 minutes. As for Donte, I have been hoping that he’d develop like another recent 2-star recruit to all SEC big man that I truly loved–Jarvis Varnardo, late of Miss State. With 6 blocks yesterday, he is on his way. I also loved that Neme is showing signs of being able to create his own shots. He’s still a work in progress, but I’m very glad we got this guy. Finally, until I missed on Damien Wilkins, I had had a perfect record (since 1975) at forecasting which dawgs would (and would not) make an NBA roster. In fact, people told me I was crazy to predict that Sundiata would play in the League, and I thought he was my second “miss” for a year or so. I thought Sundiata would make it because of his defensive quickness and nose for the ball (remember that he led the dawgs in rebounding for two years–a testament to us playing a lot of 1-3-1 zone under Felton). GR2 is even quicker than Sundiata and will get a chance, but I just don’t have the same gut feeling that he will stick in the NBA (and boy do I hope that I am wrong!).

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    1. My feelings on GR2 landing on an NBA team are not that strong, I just think that with his speed and athleticism he may end up somewhere. I hope that you are wrong too – ha ha.

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  6. Does anyone know about what time the play where Neme made that incredible play by saving the ball out of bounds was? I’m trying to skim through the replay on ESPN3 to find it but don’t have the time to watch the whole second half.

    I’d appreciate it!

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      1. I’ll try to browse through it again. That play live was one of the more exciting plays of the game and was a huge momentum swing from giving UF an offensive board on one of their few missed FT’s and then taking it down and scoring.

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